More funding to come for children and youth with complex needs
Families of children and youth with physical disabilities and other complex care needs will receive more help paying for the medical equipment they need to live at home with an increase in funding of $ 10 million. dollars for medical equipment benefits under the At Home program.
“For too long, families with children and youth in support needs have had to make tough choices because the At Home program has not kept up with rising equipment costs,” said Mitzi Dean, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This is the first significant increase in funding for the At Home program’s medical equipment benefits in over 20 years and will save families thousands of dollars on the equipment their children need.
The At Home program provides medical equipment and respite services to approximately 4,600 BC children and youth with highly complex care needs. The program provides a range of medically necessary basic equipment and supplies to support and help children and young people live at home. Starting in April 2022, families will be eligible for more financial support to purchase specialized equipment, such as wheelchairs, walkers and beds.
“Children and youth with complex care needs deserve to be supported to live fully at home with their families,” said Dan Coulter, Parliamentary Secretary for Accessibility and Deputy Chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council for Children and young people with support needs. “This investment will help more children get the home medical equipment they need, alleviating some of the pressure on families across British Columbia.
Under the current At Home program allocation, walkers, standing frames and other equipment that helps hip development and bone strength are funded up to a maximum of $ 3,200 in total, while that the market cost for a standing frame alone can range from $ 5,700 to $ 6,000. This new investment will help dramatically reduce the costs of medical equipment for children and youth in British Columbia
“This is a welcome announcement after an incredible week where British Columbians have shown their support for children across the province,” said Cally Wesson, CEO of Variety – the Children’s Charity. “It’s not easy for families with a child with special needs to be able to afford the specialized equipment they need. We have parents who choose between shopping for groceries and paying for essentials. The success of Variety Week and this announcement means kids will get what they need to thrive while parents can focus on their kids, instead of having to worry about the financial burden of ‘expensive equipment.
Jennifer, the mother of a child supported by Variety since 2012, said: “The At Home program has been an integral part of my family’s life since the birth of my youngest daughter. Since that time, they have provided us with essentials of his care, including a range of items from everyday personal care supplies to subsidized medical equipment. Variety’s role is the very starting point for helping families with special needs provide stability in our homes. Their fundraising role is so vital that I am delighted for all of us who are being supported by the At Home program by this announcement.
Aligning funding for home equipment with actual costs is part of the province’s ongoing work to improve the service system for children and youth in support needs and their families.
- At Home Medical Benefits provide basic medically necessary equipment and supplies, including:
- alternative positioning devices, such as standing frames;
- bathing and toilet aids;
- hospital beds and mattresses;
- orthotics and splints;
- dental / orthodontic and optical services;
- medical transport;
- prescription drugs;
- mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs;
- specialized car seats;
- and therapeutic equipment, such as therapeutic floor mats.
- In 2019, over 39% of families reported paying at least $ 5,000 a year out of pocket, with some paying more than $ 10,000.
- Approximately 30,000 children and youth with support needs access services offered by the Department of Child and Family Development and its contracted service providers.
For more information on the At Home program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/managing-your-health/child-behaviour-development/support-needs/complex-health-needs/at-home-program