June 2, 2009
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The provincial government is investing an additional $1 million this fiscal year to improve health benefits for eligible individuals needing help to buy or rent ventilation devices, Social Development Minister Mary Schryer announced today.
Starting this month, Social Development will improve its Health Services Program to include funding for the purchase and / or rental of ventilators, cough-assist machines and other ventilation-related equipment.
"This initiative will improve the quality of life for individuals who have long-term disabilities and require the use of ventilation devices," the minister said. "Our government is committed to enhance the services they receive and to ensure they can gain access to supplies, services and equipment required to address their basic needs."
Last year, Premier Shawn Graham announced the creation of a working group to design a new community-based service response for ventilator-dependent persons with disabilities, including representatives from the government and the sector.
"This announcement is an important step forward in responding to recommendations by the New Brunswick Disability Executives' Network and the Premier's Council on the Status of Disabled Persons," said Haley Flaro, executive director of the Canadian Paraplegic Association (NB) Inc., which was represented on the working group.
The Health Services Program helps eligible clients with the purchase of health-related services, supplies or equipment not covered by medicare or private health plans. Individuals must qualify financially for a health card and meet the eligibility criteria for the specific benefit requested. The program covered 210,000 individual services in 2008-09.
More information about the Health Services Program is available online.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Shannon Hagerman, communications, Social Development, 506-444-2416; Haley Flaro, executive director, Canadian Paraplegic Association (NB) Inc., 506-462-9555.