Reforms to travel scheme

Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries said Barwon patients who access the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) are set to benefit from a simplification of the current complex administration process.

 The changes, set to take effect on 1 January 2013, complement a raft of changes made to IPTAAS since the NSW Liberals and Nationals came to government.

Patients and their families using IPTAAS have had concerns about delays in getting their referring practitioners to sign off their claim forms after each visit, the current six month deadline to submit claim forms and the complex nature of claim forms.

“I’m pleased to say that we have been listening to the community and now we’re making things simpler for patients and families or carers using IPTAAS,” Mr Humphries said.

From 1 January 2013:

o The current six month deadline for patients to submit claims will be extendedto12 months;

o A broader definition of ‘authorised representative’ – a person who can sign the application form on behalf of the referring practitioner or specialist – will be introduced;

o The requirement for patients who have private health insurance fund to prove that they cannot claim travel and/or accommodation benefits from their fund will be abolished;

o Referring practitioners will no longer be required to complete his/her section of the application form, except in limited circumstances;

o A shortened and less complicated application form will be introduced.

Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner said that the changes were about ensuring that during a challenging period in their lives, patients, their family and carers are given access to a simpler and speedier process.

 “These changes represent a win for rural patients travelling regularly for treatment for chronic diseases who will find it much easier to fill out multiple claims. It will also benefit referring practitioners and specialists who will save time by being able to delegate signing authority to administrative staff.

 “The NSW government is continuing to improve IPTAAS after increasing subsidies and simplifying the application form and adding an online application capability earlier this year.

 “These new changes further enhance IPTAAS by making it quicker and easier for IPTAAS claimants to fill in application forms by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy and red tape, and making the system fairer by extending the application window from six to 12 months,” Mrs Skinner said.  In 2011, the NSW government announced a significant boost of $28 million, over four years, to the IPTAAS. The increase in funding means a 30 per cent boost in accommodation subsidies and a 25 per cent boost in petrol subsidies.

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