The daughter of a man evacuated from Highland Wood due to roof leaks earlier this year is livid that her mother is not being compensated for the costs involved in driving to Lindsay up to four times a week to visit her husband.

However, Haliburton Highlands Health Services (HHHS) CEO Carolyn Plummer said they provided free, out-of-town, transportation to family members and pursued all avenues with their insurer to get other costs reimbursed, but were unsuccessful.

Jennifer Wilson said her dad, Herbert Debes, was forced to relocate to Lindsay when the home was closed for roof repairs.

She said despite HHHS telling families at an initial meeting to keep their receipts, her mom was told last week that she would not be reimbursed.

Wilson said the entire family took turns driving to and from Lindsay but her mom, Sigrid, travelled several times a week.

She conceded HHHS did provide transportation at least once a week, and sometimes twice, but “that wasn’t enough. My mom visits my dad almost every day. She drove two, three, four times a week to Lindsay to be with my dad. That’s a lot for an 80-year-old and a lot of use on her car.”

Wilson said her mother spent more than $350.

“With any normal insurance claim, like if your basement was flooded and you were displaced, that would all be covered … your accommodation. These residents were paying full pop as if they were in their own home at Highland Wood.”

Wilson said she was speaking out on behalf of her family, and other families, since the issue involves “the most vulnerable sector, the elderly.

“This has nothing to do with the care he received but with management and insurance and I believe I really do need to let people know. Others don’t have a voice and are not financially able to swallow all these bills,” Wilson said.

“You can’t stress enough, this is our most vulnerable sector. How are we not protecting these people? Here my mom is 80 years old and was running the roads.”

Plummer said during the evacuation, HHHS immediately made arrangements to provide support to families, including free transportation through Community Support Services and “a number of families accessed these supports.”

She said families asked HHHS if additional transportation expenses could be reimbursed and HHHS agreed to work with families to see how HHHS might be able to support them.

“HHHS inquired with our insurance provider, but was informed that our policy would not cover such expenses. HHHS conducted an exhaustive search to determine if alternative funding sources or supports were available for families, but despite many conversations and inquiries in the months since the temporary closure, HHHS has been unable to find any other funding sources,” Plummer said.

She went on to say, “HHHS will continue to work hard to ensure that we remain in a good financial position, while dedicating as many resources as possible to direct resident, patient, and client care, so that we can provide the local healthcare and support services that our community depends on each and every day.”

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