For a week, thousands of residents in Western Norway have been without an offer of taxi transport to doctors and hospitals.
The reason is that Helse Bergen and the taxi centers in twelve municipalities have not agreed on a price.
This has led to minimum pensioner Jorunn Vadlid Svellingen choosing to drop his hourly contract in Bergen:
Rejected at the counter
After two trips to dialysis treatment at Haukeland University Hospital, 78-year-old Olaf Midthus from Norheimsund in Hardanger has spent NOK 4,400.
The law states that it is the regional health driver’s license that will pay for the trips the patients have to and from the hospital.
But since Helse Bergen no longer has an agreement on patient transport with taxi centers in Kvam, he has to pay NOK 2,200 for the trip to Bergen. On the way home, he gets a ride with Patient Travel.
At the hospital, the patient travel department at Helse Bergen has a counter where those who need it can get help.
But the two gongs Midthus has visited the counter at Haukeland, he has been rejected. The employees have not had time to help either Tuesday or Thursday, he claims.
– I tried, but I did not get help up there. The two who stood at the counter said they did not have time, said Midthus, who has reading and writing difficulties.
After NRK got in touch, Helse Bergen has promised to step up the staffing in the office that receives and processes applications for reimbursement.
You can read their entire answer at the bottom of the case.
– Not the way it should be
Saturday morning he took a taxi for the third time from Norheimsund to Bergen. The trip costs about 2220 kroner. Thus, he has paid out 6,600 kroner, and has not yet received a refund form.
On Saturday, he also did not receive help, as the counter was closed.
– If it goes like that, then I’m up to almost 14,000 kroner next week. It’s a lot of money.
– It’s not how it should be. I get sparkling treatment at the dialysis department, but they said I should get help at the counter. This is just nonsense. It’s bale, says Midthus.
Helse Bergen apologizes
Helse Bergen states that it has entered into agreements for frequent patients, such as dialysis patients, in some areas.
Kvam is not among them.
But after NRK contacted Helse Bergen about the case to Midthus, they have said that they will help the 78-year-old.
– I strongly regret that Midthus has not received help to fill out a travel invoice form, writes Ann-Mari Høiland, head of the department for patient travel in Helse Bergen to NRK.
According to her, helping patients with travel expenses is one of the priority tasks at the Midthus counter.
During the coming week, a new, simplified travel invoice form on two pages will replace the four-page form that is today.
– We have also increased the capacity for case processing to ensure that patients get their money refunded as quickly as possible, writes Høiland.