About

The Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS)


PATS is a subsidy scheme funded by the Government of South Australia and administered through the six regional local health networks by the Rural Support Service in SA Health.

Through PATS, subsidies are provided to assist South Australians who are required to travel more than 100km each way to access necessary and approved medical specialist services that are not available locally.

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The Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS)


PATS is a subsidy scheme funded by the Government of South Australia and administered through the six regional local health networks by the Rural Support Service in SA Health.

Through PATS, subsidies are provided to assist South Australians who are required to travel more than 100km each way to access necessary and approved medical specialist services that are not available locally.

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To be eligible for PATS subsidies, you need to:


  • be a permanent South Australian resident
  • be enrolled in Medicare and receive treatment claimable through Medicare
  • not receive, or be eligible for, financial assistance for travel and accommodation through another provider, and have claimed any available benefits from a private health fund first, if applicable
  • have an appointment with or receive treatment from the nearest recognised medical specialist or approved medical specialist service (unless there is a valid medical reason for bypassing this service, in which case your referring doctor must complete section 1 of the application form)
  • be travelling more than 100km from your residence to your appointment or treatment location.

Approved escorts are also eligible for PATS. For more information, please read the PATS guidelines for assessment.

To be eligible for PATS subsidies, you need to:


  • be a permanent South Australian resident
  • be enrolled in Medicare and receive treatment claimable through Medicare
  • not receive, or be eligible for, financial assistance for travel and accommodation through another provider, and have claimed any available benefits from a private health fund first, if applicable
  • have an appointment with or receive treatment from the nearest recognised medical specialist or approved medical specialist service (unless there is a valid medical reason for bypassing this service, in which case your referring doctor must complete section 1 of the application form)
  • be travelling more than 100km from your residence to your appointment or treatment location.

Approved escorts are also eligible for PATS. For more information, please read the PATS Guidelines for Assessment.

What's covered?


PATS can contribute to the cost of your accommodation and travel, including air travel authorised by your specialist if required.

Specific details about what’s covered can be found in the PATS Guidelines for Assessment.

Scroll for more information about subsidies and eligible services.

What subsidies are available?


PATS will provide 16 cents per km travelled by private vehicle, or generally most of the cost of public transport or air travel – if you have been medically authorised to travel by air.

PATS can provide up to $44 per night per person in commercial accommodation including GST.

Services eligible for PATS


Medical specialist appointments (in person or via telehealth) and some medical specialist services that are covered by Medicare are eligible for PATS subsidies.


Approved medical specialist services include:


    Pregnancy Advisory Centre (PAC)

    BreastScreen SA

    chemotherapy

    radiology services

    renal dialysis

    clients admitted to country hospitals

    inpatient rehabilitation services

Appointments with the following health professionals are ineligible for subsidy:


    allied health professionals

    general practitioners

    nursing professionals

    general dental practitioners


PATS is also unable to provide subsidies for people travelling for:


    clinical trials or experimental treatments (other than phase IV trials)

    appointments for a second opinion

    surgery for cosmetic reasons

    monitoring programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Online portal

1How do I log onto the PATS online portal?

Applications can be made online - follow the link to Apply Online. If you haven’t used the online portal before, click the ‘sign up’ link and follow the prompts. An email will be sent to you to complete your registration.

Once you have registered, you can login and submit your claim.

2How do I submit an online application?

To submit an online application, log in to your PATS account by visiting the PATS online portal and clicking on the PATS online portal link located under the “Apply online” menu.

You will need your Medicare Card and bank details to complete the online application.

Submitting your application online is the fastest way to submit your claim as there are some Australia Post delays. Please complete all details, including bank account information, even if you have previously provided us with paper-based applications so that we can set you up for payment faster.

3Can I check the progress of my claims online?

If you have submitted your application online, you can check the progress of your claim by logging in to the PATS online portal and clicking on the “My Claims” Tab at the top of the page.

If you have submitted a paper-based application, we may be unable to advise the progress of your claim as we receive a large number of claims via post and at drop boxes located across a number of regional hospitals.If you require a short turnaround for reimbursement, please email us at pats@sa.gov.au or submit your forms in person at your local PATS office.

4What do each of the claim statuses mean?

Submitted: when your claim is in the queue awaiting assessment.

Declined: when your claim does not meet the eligibility criteria and is not eligible for payment.

Pending: when the assessor has reviewed your claim but it is missing information, the assessor will contact you to obtain further information.

Created: you have started a claim but it has not yet been submitted for assessment.

Pre-approval: a claim which has been created by a third party provider for direct payment to them i.e. travel or accommodation needs.

Closed: PATS has contacted you for more information but you have not provided the missing information within three months and your claim has since been closed.

5My son is a patient and I need to log a claim for him – how do I do this?

There are two options:

you can either register and login as yourself and lodge the claim on his behalf;

OR

you can register and login as your son.

There is no right or wrong way - it is entirely up to your preference.

6I have forgotten my password and I am having trouble logging in – how do I reset my password?

Visit the Apply online page. Once on the login page you will see a ‘Forgot your password’ link – if you follow the link it will ask you for your user name – enter your user name (for example 1234@pats.sa) and a reset link will be sent to your email address. You may need to check in your junk folder as sometime the emails are redirected there.

If you are still having trouble you can call us on Ph: 1300 341 684 to reset your password for you.

7What do I do with my supporting papers?

When you lodge a claim online you have the opportunity to upload any supporting papers either by scanning and attaching or taking a photo and uploading these. You do still need to upload part B (if needed) and part C for any travel or accommodation invoices (excluding fuel receipts).

General

1How do I find out my PATS client number?

Your PATS client number will be located on your remittance advice.

You do not need a PATS client number for paper claims. Staff can search the system and match your details if you are already entered.

2How long will my application take to process?

PATS will endeavour to provide a reimbursement within four weeks of receiving a completed claim. More often, a claim will be assessed within two weeks of being received.

During December and January, due to staff leave and an increase in claims being received your claim may take longer to process.

3Can I visit a PATS office to speak to someone?

PATS is a state-wide program and our staff process applications for consumers living throughout rural regional South Australia. Our staff also provide a face to face service at any of our regional PATS offices. Office hours for PATS face to face services are between 10.00 am and 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm.

You can also speak to a PATS officer during business hours by calling 1300 341 684 or by emailing pats@sa.gov.au

4I didn’t get the amount I expected – what do I do next?

To enquire about the amount your received, you can email us at pats@sa.gov.au or call us on 1300 341 684 and the assessor will be able to advise what you have been paid for and discuss any concerns. If you are still not happy with the subsidy amount, you can put your concerns in writing and address it to any PATS office or pats@sa.gov.au ATT Manager and the Manager will review your claim and any additional information you provide and respond within 14 business days.

PATS staff don’t have access to medical records and are only able to provide assessment on the claim with the information that has been provided. Therefore if you have any additional information to support your claim – please include this when speaking to a PATS Assessor.

5Has the criteria for payment changed? Why is my reimbursement different?

In November 2020, the end treatment location was changed from the treatment GPO, to the actual treatment location. Therefore clients are now receiving a fuel subsidy for the entire route they are travelling. This may mean that you notice a difference in the amount of fuel subsidy you have been receiving. If you are concerned about the difference in subsidy, please contact us to discuss this.

6If I travel by air, am I eligible to apply for a subsidy?

You may be eligible to receive a subsidy for air travel if you meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the PATS Guidelines for Assessment under section 7.2.4. A specialist can authorise air travel as your mode of transport, if it is in line with the eligibility criteria.

7What are the eligibility criteria?

Before you submit your application, please read the PATS Guidelines for Assessment for full details of the eligibility criteria.

Please note that PATS provides a subsidy if you are seen by the nearest treating specialist and you live more than 100 kilometres away. Before submitting an application please also ensure you check whether there is a new service closer to your home. You can do this by speaking with your General Practitioner or by calling PATS on 1300 341 684 or emailing us at pats@sa.gov.au

8If I am claiming for use of a private car to travel to my appointments, do I have to include receipts for fuel?

If you use a private car to travel to your appointments, you are not required to provide fuel receipts as our staff reimburse the distance from your home address to the actual treatment location at 16 cents per km. For more information, please read the PATS Guidelines for Assessment

9Who do I contact if I am waiting for a payment and I am in financial hardship?

If you require an urgent reimbursement on your claim, please contact our office either in person or via email with your claim and reason for requesting an urgent reimbursement. On many occasions, PATS can provide a reimbursement of a completed application with 24 business hours.

If you have been advised of an upcoming appointment within five business days and are a valid concession card holder, please call 1300 341 684 or attend your nearest PATS office to discuss an advance payment for your upcoming trip.

Frequently Asked Questions

Online portal

1How do I log onto the PATS online portal?

Applications can be made at online - follow the link to Apply Online. If you haven’t used the online portal before, click the ‘sign up’ link and follow the prompts. An email will be sent to you to complete your registration.

Once you have registered, you can login and submit your claim.

2How do I submit an online application?

To submit an online application, log in to your PATS account by visiting the PATS online portal and clicking on the PATS online portal link located under the “Apply online” menu.

You will need your Medicare Card and bank details to complete the online application.

Submitting your application online is the fastest way to submit your claim as there are some Australia Post delays. Please complete all details, including bank account information, even if you have previously provided us with paper-based applications so that we can set you up for payment faster.

3Can I check the progress of my claims online?

If you have submitted your application online, you can check the progress of your claim by logging in to the PATS online portal and clicking on the “My Claims” Tab at the top of the page.

If you have submitted a paper-based application, we may be unable to advise the progress of your claim as we receive a large number of claims via post and at drop boxes located across a number of regional hospitals.If you require a short turnaround for reimbursement, please email us at pats@sa.gov.au or submit your forms in person at your local PATS office.

4What do each of the claim status mean?

Submitted: when your claim is in the queue awaiting assessment.

Declined: when your claim does not meet the eligibility criteria and is not eligible for payment.

Pending: when the assessor has reviewed your claim but it is missing information, the assessor will contact you to obtain further information.

Created: you have started a claim but it has not yet been submitted for assessment.

Pre-approval: a claim which has been created by a third party provider for direct payment to them i.e. travel or accommodation needs.

Closed: PATS has contacted you for more information but you have not provided the missing information within three months and your claim has since been closed.

5My son is a patient and I need to log a claim for him – how do I do this?

There are two options:

you can either register and login as yourself and lodge the claim on his behalf;

OR

you can register and login as your son.

There is no right or wrong way - it is entirely up to your preference.

6I have forgotten my password and I am having trouble logging in – how do I reset my password?

Visit the PATS login page and click on the “Forgot your password’ link – if you follow the link it will ask you for your user name – enter 1234@pats.sa and a reset link will be sent to your email address. You may need to check your junk folder as sometime the emails are redirected there.

If you are still having issues logging in, please call us on 1300 341 684.

7What do I do with my supporting papers?

When you lodge a claim online you have the opportunity to upload any supporting papers either by scanning and attaching or taking a photo and uploading these. If you are lodging your claim online – there is no need to upload a section three as you have already provided this information in your electronic lodgement. You do still need to upload a section one (if required) section two form and any travel or accommodation invoices (excluding fuel receipts).

General

1How do I find out my PATS client number?

Your PATS client number will be located on your remittance advice.

You do not need a PATS client number for paper claims. Staff can search the system and match your details if you are already entered.

2How long will my application take to process?

PATS will endeavour to provide a reimbursement within four weeks of receiving a completed claim. More often, a claim will be assessed within two weeks of being received.

During December and January, due to staff leave and an increase in claims being received your claim may take longer to process.

3Can I visit a PATS office to speak to someone?

PATS is a state-wide program and our staff process applications for consumers living throughout rural regional South Australia. Our staff also provide a face to face service at any of our regional PATS offices. Office hours for PATS face to face services are between 10.00 am and 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm and 3.00 pm.

You can also speak to a PATS officer during business hours by calling 1300 341 684 or by emailing pats@sa.gov.au

4I didn’t get the amount I expected – what do I do next?

To enquire about the amount your received, you can email us at pats@sa.gov.au or call us on 1300 341 684 and the assessor will be able to advise what you have been paid for and discuss any concerns. If you are still not happy with the subsidy amount, you can put your concerns in writing and address it to any PATS office or pats@sa.gov.au ATT Manager and the Manager will review your claim and any additional information you provide and respond within 14 business days.

PATS staff don’t have access to medical records and are only able to provide assessment on the claim with the information that has been provided. Therefore if you have any additional information to support your claim – please include this when speaking to a PATS Assessor.

5Has the criteria for payment changed? Why is my reimbursement different?

In November 2020, the end treatment location was changed from the treatment GPO, to the actual treatment location. Therefore clients are now receiving a fuel subsidy for the entire route they are travelling. This may mean that you notice a difference in the amount of fuel subsidy you have been receiving. If you are concerned about the difference in subsidy, please contact us to discuss this.

6If I travel by air, am I eligible to apply for a subsidy?

You may be eligible to receive a subsidy for air travel if you meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the PATS Guidelines for Assessment under section 7.2.4. A specialist can authorise air travel as your mode of transport, if it is in line with the eligibility criteria.

7What is the eligibility criteria?

Before you submit your application, please read the PATS Guidelines for Assessment for full details of the eligibility criteria.

Please note that PATS provides a subsidy if you are seen by the nearest treating specialist and you live more than 100 kilometres away. Before submitting an application please you also ensure you check whether there is a new service closer to your home. You can do this by speaking with your General Practitioner or by calling PATS on 1300 341 684 or emailing us at pats@sa.gov.au

8If I am claiming for use of a private car to travel to my appointments, do I have to include receipts for fuel?

If you use a private car to travel to your appointments, you are not required to provide fuel receipts as our staff reimburse the distance from your home address to the actual treatment location at 16 cents per km. For more information, please read the PATS Guidelines for Assessment

9Who do I contact if I am waiting for a payment and I am in financial hardship?

If you require an urgent reimbursement on your claim, please contact our office either in person or via email with your claim and reason for requesting an urgent reimbursement. On many occasions, PATS can provide a reimbursement of a completed application with 24 business hours.

If you have been advised of an upcoming appointment within five business days and are a valid concession card holder, please call 1300 341 684 or attend your nearest PATS office to discuss an advance payment for your upcoming trip.

Barry's story


Barry is a Riverland local - he's lived in Waikerie all his life.

An unexpected diagnosis left Barry and his wife facing a long round-trip to Adelaide each fortnight for specialist care.

"That's where the PATS scheme did come in and became very, very helpful to us. There was available finance for travel...knowing there is some money out there to support you - it helps."

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