Medical Expense Related Travel Policy 21-220 | Effective Date: January 1, 2020

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide direction to WorkSafeNB staff for paying claim-related travel expenses for medical treatment related travel. 

Scope

This policy applies to:

  • All injured workers  travelling for medical reasons related to the claim, and to any companions or attendants required to accompany them.

Statements

1.0 General

WorkSafeNB adjudicates all claims using the criteria outlined in Policy 21-100 Conditions for Entitlement – General Principles.

Once a claim is accepted, WorkSafeNB provides medical aid and rehabilitation benefits under section 41 and 43 of the WC Act as necessary and sufficient to help injured workers return to work and to assist in lessening or removing any handicap resulting from the work-related injury.

This includes helping injured workers pay for travel expenses incurred while travelling in relation to a claim when the expenses exceed those generally incurred in day-to-day living. Payments are intended to offset additional costs that an injured worker may incur while travelling. 

Payments may include, but are not limited to transportation, accommodation, meals, and associated child/dependant care expenses.

This policy outlines when payments will be made for when travelling for medical reasons, which includes treatment and therapy related to the claim.

2.0  Transportation

When injured workers are expected to travel medical reasons because substantially equivalent medical services are not available in the workers’ locality, WorkSafeNB reimburses transportation costs based on the actual distance travelled after meeting the threshold of 40 km in one direction by the most reasonably direct route. For clarity, WorkSafeNB will not pay for transportation where the distance travelled is less than 40 km in one direction. 

WorkSafeNB calculates transportation costs using the following formula:

Transportation costs = Actual distance travelled multiplied by the transportation rate if the distance travelled is equal to, or more than, 40 km in one direction.

For the current transportation rate see Fee Schedule 29-220 Medical Expenses Related Travel

a) Travel Within New Brunswick

 For travel within New Brunswick, that meets the threshold of 40 km in one direction, the above formula is used to determine the amount payable, regardless of whether the injured worker chooses to travel by some other transportation method, unless the injured worker’s needs and condition warrants using an alternative mode of transportation (see section “c” below).

b) Travel Outside New Brunswick

For travel outside New Brunswick, that meets the threshold of 40 km in one direction, WorkSafeNB arranges (or pre-approves) and pays for the injured worker’s transportation. When doing so, WorkSafeNB uses the most cost-effective and suitable means available. 

If WorkSafeNB recommends that an injured worker travel outside the province by car, the injured worker is reimbursed for transportation costs using the same formula and transportation rate outlined above.

WorkSafeNB reimburses injured workers at cost for pre-approved transportation by bus, taxi, train, ferry, or plane. Receipts are required.

When an injured worker chooses to travel by means other than that approved by WorkSafeNB, WorkSafeNB pays the lesser of: 

  • The transportation rate for the distance travelled; or
  • The cost of the most economical, suitable means of transportation available.

c) Alternative Modes of Transportation

When injured workers are unable to drive due to the injury or have a legitimate need to travel by an alternative mode of transportation, WorkSafeNB may approve and pay for an alternative mode of transportation (e.g. taxi, ambulance, plane, etc.).

In situations where personal use of a motor vehicle is not possible, workers are required to use the most appropriate and cost-effective mode of transportation (e.g. bus, taxi, etc.).

Before approving or paying for an alternative mode of transportation, WorkSafeNB: 

  • Confirms the injured worker’s need to travel by an alternative mode; and
  • Determines if the alternative mode will meet the injured worker’s special needs.

The use of alternative modes of transportation must be pre-authorized by WorkSafeNB, except in the case of a medical emergency.  

d) Carpooling

If injured workers drive together, or with an attendant or companion, only the driver of the vehicle may claim transportation expenses. 

e) Other Transportation Expenses

Expenses are paid at cost for ferries, road and bridge tolls, and parking fees. Receipts are required.

3.0 Accommodation

WorkSafeNB may pay for accommodations for injured workers who stay away from home overnight to attend appointments. For the payment of accommodations, the threshold of 80 km, in one direction, must be met.

If the 80 km, in one direction, threshold has been met, WorkSafeNB will consider paying if:

  • Making the return trip is not safe or cost-effective; or
  • The injured worker’s needs and individual circumstances justify the overnight stay.

If the injured worker does not accept the recommended travel option, (i.e., travelling or staying overnight) WorkSafeNB reimburses the injured worker for the costs of the lesser of:

  • The option chosen; or
  • The option recommended by WorkSafeNB.

a) Travel Within New Brunswick

When injured workers are asked to stay overnight at a location within the province, they are reimbursed their accommodation costs up to the negotiated rate. Receipts are required.

For more information see Fee Schedule 29-220 Medical Expense Related Travel .

When WorkSafeNB or injured workers make hotel reservations, WorkSafeNB rates should be requested. To receive WorkSafeNB rates for accommodations, injured workers must take with them a copy of the letter confirming the injured worker is required to travel to the area for a medical appointment.

WorkSafeNB assists with accommodation arrangements if the injured worker requests.

b) Travel Outside New Brunswick

If an injured worker is asked to stay overnight at a location outside the province, WorkSafeNB pays the full cost of the accommodations (room-rate plus applicable tax). Receipts are required.

WorkSafeNB arranges out-of-province accommodations for injured workers. However, in some cases, WorkSafeNB may request injured workers to book their own accommodations. When making hotel reservations, injured workers may request WorkSafeNB rates.  

In all cases, WorkSafeNB must approve the costs of accommodation before the stay takes place.

c) If No Receipt is Submitted

Injured workers who do not provide accommodation receipts,will not be reimbursed.  

4.0 Meals 

WorkSafeNB may pay a daily meal amount to injured workers who travel to appointments and are not at home over meal hours.The threshold of 80 km, in one direction, must be met before meal expenses are paid. It may be paid in part or in full as circumstances warrant. For current rates, see Fee Schedule 29-220 Medical Expense Related Travel 

5.0 Choice of Health-care Providers

WorkSafeNB supports an injured worker’s choice of health-care provider. However, by legislation, WorkSafeNB is responsible for providing medical aid at the right cost which includes using health-care providers within the injured workers locality.

6.0 Attendants and Companions

WorkSafeNB authorizes a companion or attendant to travel with an injured worker, or to be present with an injured worker who is admitted to hospital as a result of the compensable injury,only if a medical practitioner certified in writing that the injured worker was not able to travel alone to obtain medical services. 

WorkSafeNB pays authorized attendants/companions’ travel expenses under this policy, in the same manner as it pays injured workers’ expenses.

WorkSafeNB does not normally reimburse any lost wages an attendant/companion may experience. However, WorkSafeNB-authorized personal care attendants hired to assist injured workers at home are paid an allowance or fee for services as outlined in Policy 25-003 Home Care and Independence.

7.0 Child/Dependant Care Expenses (baby-sitting)

WorkSafeNB reimburses injured workers to help offset additional child/dependant care expenses:

  • When the expense exceeds what the injured worker would pay when working; and
  • If the care is required to cover a period of absence due to a medical reason related to the claim..

Payments are made according to Fee Schedule 29-223 Child/Dependant Care Expenses. Receipts are required.

8.0 Advances

Where it will avoid financial hardship, travel expenses may be paid in advance. Injured workers are required to submit receipts for accommodations and alternate pre-approved transportation (e.g. taxis, buses) at the conclusion of the travel period. All receipts should be submitted to WorkSafeNB within 30 calendar days.

Money paid in advance in excess of the actual travel expense incurred is considered an overpayment and the injured worker is required to repay the overpayment in full. For more information, see Policy 21-290 Recovery of Claim-related Overpayments.

Workers’ Compensation Act (RSNB 1973, c W-13)

41(1), 41(2), 41(3) and 41(4)

43

Other Relevant Legislation

Income Tax Act

118.2(2),118.2(4)

Income tax Regulations

232(1),232(2), 232(4)

Tax Implications

Transportation that meets the threshold of 40 km in one direction is considered a medical expense is not reported on an injured workers T5007. If reimbursement is provided under section c of this policy and travel is less than 40 km, the amount is not considered a medical expense and may be reported on a T5007.

Meals and accommodations that are paid after the injured worker has travelled more than 80 km in one direction are considered a medical expense and are not reported on an injured workers T5007. If meals or accommodations are paid for when the injured worker has not travelled the 80 km in one direction threshold, the amount is not considered a medical expense and may be reported on a T5007.

 

 

Health-care provider – practitioner or facility, either within or outside the province, which delivers health care and related services.

Medical expensea medical expense that meets the eligibility criteria as outlined in subsection 118.2(2) of the Income Tax Act and the Canada Revenue Agency’s guide RC4065

Medical aid – includes medical, surgical and dental aid, hospital and skilled nursing services, services of a registered chiropractor within his legal jurisdiction, artificial members and apparatus including the repair and replacement thereof, transportation, clothing allowances with respect to damage caused to clothing as a result of the use of an artificial apparatus or as a result of any accident, and such other treatment, services or attendance as are necessary as a result of any injury. (WC Act)

Negotiated rate – a fixed rate for accommodation that has been agreed upon between WorkSafeNB and a service provider for provision of accommodations for injured workers.

WorkSafeNB – means the Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission or "the Commission" as defined by the WHSCC & WCAT Act.

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