Mètis Nation –Saskatchewan achieves health care benefits
- EFN staff | February 16, 2021
A cancer diagnosis is the last thing you want to hear from your doctor. Lots of fear of the future. Treatments. Travel. Uncertainty. It can be the most trying of times for the strongest of families.
Soon though, there will be support for Métis patients and their families in the process.
The Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (SCA) and the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) have agreed to work together to improve Métis people’s experiences with cancer treatment.
The partners intend to improve outcomes for Métis people, from prevention through treatment, with a culturally responsive plan for the Cancer Agency to ensure health equity for overall health and well-being.
“We are formalizing a relationship that has been years in the making through our collaboration on cancer surveillance, cancer prevention activities and community consultations,” said Cancer Agency President Dr. Jon Tonita.
The MN-S will help the agency identify, understand and address the barriers that contribute to health inequities for Métis people in this province, Tonita said.
MN–S Health Minister Marg Friesen has committed to working closely with the Cancer Agency, “to
implement diverse and targeted cancer programs and services for the people we serve.”
Registered Métis people in Saskatchewan also now have access to financial help to cover the cost of travel and accommodation for cardiac care, surgeries and other medical specialist appointments.
The travel and accommodation program is a pilot project to expand an existing application-based program for Mètis cancer and kidney dialysis patients.
Some medical services are only available in Saskatoon, Regina, and Prince Albert, which can require significant travel, time, and expense for Métis citizens living across the province. With the economic challenges that came with the pandemic and the stress that traveling for medical treatment brings, MN–S wants to provide its citizens with some comfort and assistance to help reduce their worries during an already stressful time.
“Our citizens and their families are in urgent need of financial support to help ease the burden of accessing medical care outside of their communities. Lack of public transportation and pandemic related fears have made essential travel more difficult,” Friesen said. “Removing some of these barriers will help lessen the stress of travel when dealing with critical medical concerns.”
Reimbursement will be provided for fuel, healthy food and accommodation expenses incurred during travel to and from required medical appointments outside of the patient's home community. The program is open to all registered citizens of the Métis Nation–Saskatchewan, those whose registrations are in process, and their immediate family members.
To sign up for the travel program or for more information go to www.metisnationsk.com/health
The benefits arise from negotiations with the federal government to implement the 2016 Supreme Court of Canada Daniels decision, which found the Métis are included as Indians under the constitution and that the federal government has a fiduciary duty to them.