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Sudbury mom shares concerns after daughter's health card invalid at ER

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A mother from Greater Sudbury is sharing her story about a recent experience at the emergency department at Health Sciences North in Sudbury.

There was an issue with her sick daughter’s health card and she claims she was told to pay or leave.

“I was very concerned for Claire on that day. She was having trouble breathing and when she would cough it was getting so bad she would actually choke while coughing,” said the mother, who didn’t want to be identified due to privacy reasons.

The mother said she took a very sick Claire to the HSN emergency department on Jan. 17 at 2 a.m.

“I had a bad cough and when I coughed, I choked and I couldn’t breathe,” said Claire Clark, six years old.

The mother said when they registered at the emergency department there was an issue with Claire’s health card.

“The registration clerk told me that my daughter’s health card was invalid,” she said.

A mother from Greater Sudbury is sharing her story about a recent experience with her daughter, Claire, at the emergency department at Health Sciences North in Sudbury. (Alana Everson/CTV News)

“I asked her how it was invalid and she said she did not know and then she said that I either needed to pay $875 or leave the hospital.”

The mother said the issue with the card was rectified the next morning and it was related to the unit number where she lives. Her daughter was treated by her family doctor for respiratory issues and given steroids and two puffers.

Still upset with her treatment at HSN, the mother said she complained to patient relations.

“I spoke to one of their staff members who said the matter was investigated and closed. Nothing about any kind of resolution was shared at all,” said the mother.

We contacted HSN and it said due to patient privacy laws, they were not able to speak to specific patient cases.

In a statement the hospital said:

“If someone comes to the ED and does not have a valid OHIP card, they are registered as an ‘uninsured’ patient and will still receive treatment. They will receive a bill for treatment.

“If a patient can subsequently provide their valid OHIP card number to the hospital within the timeframe required to successfully make a claim to the Ministry of Health, they will be reimbursed for their payment.”

The mother said she is sharing her story because she hopes anyone facing an issue with their health card -- especially critically ill children -- are not treated this way.

She said she was never told about possible reimbursement -- it was pay or leave.

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