Man who had heart attack stuck with big bill for treatment in U.S

By on February 1, 2017

WINNIPEG –A Manitoba man who received emergency medical treatment south of the border is going to be stuck paying the hefty bill on his own.

Robin Milne, 60, of Sprague, Man., suffered a heart attack in October and was initially treated at a hospital in nearby Minnesota, which has an emergency medical care agreement with Manitoba.

But doctors ordered him transferred to another facility in North Dakota where Manitoba patients aren’t covered, leaving him facing a bill for $118,000.

When the story went public last week, Health Minister Kelvin Goertzen promised a review of the policy and Milne’s case.

On Wednesday, a government spokesperson told CTV Winnipeg that review had been completed and the minister doesn’t have the authority to make payments not authorized in legislation.

The NDP Opposition has said the case demonstrates the need for the province to expand a program that covers the medical bills of people from rural areas who must seek treatment in some U.S. border states.

Milne has said the decision to transfer him to the North Dakota hospital came after he waited 90 minutes to be transferred to a Winnipeg hospital.

He said because it was a life or death matter, the province should cover the hefty bill.

NDP health critic Matt Wiebe has said it’s not like Milne had any say in the matter.

“These were decisions made by medical professionals on where he should go and what kind of treatment he should receive. He was at the mercy of those medical professionals who we think made the right decision on saving his life.”

There are other cases of Manitobans being hit with big medical bills after going to the U.S. for care.