09/05/2013 06:41 EDT | Updated 11/05/2013 05:12 EST

Wheelchair Fee Suspended By Vancouver Coastal Health


Vancouver Coastal Health has decided to hold off on charging a monthly fee for wheelchairs at nine long-term care homes while the Ministry of Health conducts a province-wide review.

Spokesperson Gavin Wilson says concerns raised by the Fraser Health Authority's decision to implement a $25 fee in their facilities on Sept. 1 prompted the review of the fees.

"Fraser Health went ahead of us in terms of sending out the notification and that raised the issue. Is that a fair fee? What is a fair fee for residents and seniors in residential care to pay? Is it consistent amongst the health authorities?" said Wilson.

"Turns out it really wasn't. That's when the Ministry of Health and the health authorities decided, well, let's take a look at this."

Wilson says the fee hasn't been waived indefinitely, but the review will examine several issues and costs related to long-term care.

In June, Wilson said Vancouver Health Authority planned to introduce fees at nine care homes, but 27 other care homes operated by private contractors already have the right to charge a fee for wheelchairs if they see fit.

An audit found those facilities charge $35 per month on average, but Wilson said no one will go without a wheelchair if they can't afford to pay.

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