Our Patient Assistance Transport Scheme (PATS) has now expanded to include travel to prosthetic and orthotic clinics for health appointments throughout the six regional LHNs.
This means people who need artificial legs or arms, foot supports for diabetes or braces for vascular conditions can now claim 32c per kilometre if they have to travel more than 100km each way to appointments. They can also receive a subsidy towards accommodation.
This is significant for our rural communities given rises in the costs of living – particularly for fuel – as the expansion is expected to subsidise more than 45,000 kilometres of travel to specialist fittings and check-ups in its first year.
To be eligible for the new subsidies:
• People must travel more than 100 km (each way) to access approved medical specialist services related to orthotics and/or prosthetics
• Treatment must be provided in a public or private hospital or outpatient clinic
• The treatment provider must be a full member of the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association (AOPA)
Patients referred by a GP or specialist and who are also receiving treatment with a registered clinician for neuromuscular, orthopaedic, vascular, and other chronic diseases can also access subsidies for custom-made orthotics. Over the counter or custom moulded orthotics as well as dental prosthetics are not eligible.
This is the third major improvement to PATS in 2023 following the doubling of the fuel subsidy from 16c to 32c per kilometre and the addition of a subsidy for Kangaroo Island locals who use the ferry to travel to appointments.
The decision to expand PATS cover comes after feedback from the community and has been implemented in collaboration with the Orthotics and Prosthetics team at the Royal Adelaide Hospital.
Rural Support Service