Edmonton man requires assessment to continue receiving medical supplies coverage

“’Our wait list is approximately four to six months.’ It’s ridiculous.”

Philip Raworth lost his bladder to cancer. He has been using urostomy bags for more than a decade. It’s something that has always been covered by Alberta Health Services.

But despite his life-long condition, he received a letter stating he requires an assessment in order to continue receiving coverage for his medical supplies.

“Which is a bit ridiculous, because if you have a chronic condition, it’s not going to get better, so it’s an unnecessary imposition on the people who are using the service,” he explained.

But, it could take up to six months to be seen, and says he’ll have to pay out-of-pocket for his urostomy bags in the meantime.

“You’re looking at $400 a month,” said Raworth.

In a statement from Alberta Health, they say they are working as quickly as possible to make sure these assessments occur in a timely manner, saying they could:

  • Be useful if there are new, better products for the patient;
  • And, could reveal changes within a client’s medical needs.

Adding staffing challenges with the community aids for independent living are contributing in part to delays.

“What makes it worse is that they don’t have the personnel to actually run this assessment program so you get a situation for example, my situation, for example my situation, where in September, my authorization runs out. Has to be reassessed again, just in case, I’ve regrown a bladder. And so what happens is, is that, that’s fine. I think it’s unnecessary, but okay. Well, of course, between when the authorization runs out and when they finally reassess you, and you continue new authorization, you have to pay the full amount.”

While Raworth is thankful to be in a position to be able to afford this addition cost. He knows that isn’t the reality for everyone out there, wanting to use his voice to bring attention to the issue.

“In my case, to be quite honest, it’s not that bad of a thing, because I earn reasonable money, but other people who don’t, it can come to $400-$450 a month. And that’s a lot of money for somebody who’s trying to, who knows what situation they’re in,” he explained.

“$400 a month for people who are already finding it difficult to make ends meet, it’s a lot of money, and there’s no need for it, because the reassessment is pointless, because you only get this if you are assessed with a chronic disease or condition. And that means chronic is not going to get better.”

Late Monday afternoon after CityNews reached out to AHS, Raworth says his assessment was cancelled and his coverage for medical supplies will continue to be covered.

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