Since access to assistive devices is not a federally-mandated program, financial assistance for canes, wheel chairs and braces for patients with arthritis varies considerably from province to province. In fact, the majority of provincial health plans cover none of these aids.
The Ontario Ministry of Health does have an Assistive Devices Program (ADP) which covers a portion of the cost of manual and power wheelchairs, scooters and walkers, back supports, and specialized canes for people with long-term disabilities. ADP pays up to 75 percent of a predetermined price, with the patient paying the remaining 25 percent directly to the vendor at the time of purchase. For those on social assistance, the program will cover 100 percent of the cost. "To access this program, your patient must have a valid Health Card and the device must be authorized by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist registered with the program," says Robert Jankowski, a public information officer with ADP. There are currently over 5,000 registered authorizers working in hospitals, home care agencies or private practice. Physicians or patients can call 1-800-268-6021 to obtain the name of local health professionals authorized to access this program or speak with the local CCAC/Home Care Coordinator for further information.
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