Sask. family questions Ministry of Health rejection of covering out of country medical expense

One Saskatchewan family is hoping that others don’t have to face a difficult financial situation like they have because of medical expenses out of the country.

5 year old Conner Finn required a bone marrow transplant for a rare neurological condition called Adrenoleukodystrophy.

The Saskatchewan Health Authority advised the Finn Family to seek treatment at the ALD Centre of Excellence in Minnesota.

Despite recommendations from Finn’s metabolic physician and the Health Services Review Committee, the Ministry of Health has refused to cover the cost of Conner’s treatment.

Conner’s mother Kirsten says that it has forced family into a difficult financial decision. “We were left with the decision of sit around and wait and possibly fall out of the window for transplant and watch our son deteriorate and die or liquidate our entire live savings to secure treatment for him which is what we ended up doing.”

The Finns have had to put their retirement plans on hold, sell their house, and move to Kansas City to alleviate the financial hardship caused by the decision not to cover Conner’s care.

Health Minister Paul Merriman says they were following recommendations from the ombudsman report and is willing to discuss with the family further on the situation.

The Saskatchewan government released an excerpt from the Ombudsman Report, Monday afternoon, that presented their reasoning.

The Ombudsman report said.  “The HSRC’s (Health Services Review Committee) role is to review the MSB decisions to deny payment of out-of-province or out-of-country health care services, and to make recommendations to the Minister. The HSRC cannot recommend payment for health services that are not covered under Ministry legislation, policies and guidelines, but it is to operate and make its recommendations to the Minister completely independently from the Ministry. The decisions the Minister of Health makes based on the HSRC’s recommendations can have a significant impact on applicants’ interests. Because of this, it is important that the way the HSRC’s recommendations are presented to the Minister for consideration be procedurally fair to applicants.”

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