A Halifax family says Canadian hospitals are making a profit off sick people who want to watch television in their rooms while they recover.
Eryn Denis's mother recently suffered a stroke and is now recovering in a rehabilitation centre. Denis said the care is terrific, but the bill for the television is "highway robbery."
At hospitals in Halifax the service starts at $9.50 per day plus tax for basic channels. Over the course of a month it can add up to over $300.
Denis said her mother’s bill for one week with the premium package was $93.38. She argued homeowners can buy a monthly cable, internet and phone package for that much.
Capital Health spokesman David Kersey said they have a contract with a company called Hospitality Network that serves hospitals across the country.
"The rates that are charged are fairly standard rates," he said.
Hospitality Network provides everything from cable to television repair and it pays Capital Health an operational fee.
In 2012 Capital Health made $310,000 from television rentals. It said that money went back into hospital operations.
The health authority said no one is forced to take the service and there are discounts for long-term patients.
"It’s up to the patient to decide at the end of the day whether or not they can manage," said Kersey.
Denis said television can be therapeutic for sick people.
"She’s just been through a lot in the past few weeks and it’s something she’s able to watch when we’re not there to help her feel more comfortable and take her mind off of what’s gone on," she said.
Denis said she doesn't expect the service to be free, but added it should be more accessible.