Gippsland East Nationals MP, Tim Bull, has called on the Health Minister to fix the failing Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) payment reimbursements.
“While our health system is in crisis, one element the government can fix quickly is VPTAS, which covers some of the travel and accommodation costs incurred by rural Victorians when they must travel more than 100 kilometres one way for specialist medical treatment.
“It is widely used by a number of East Gippslanders who have to travel to Melbourne and other locations to receive the specialist treatment they require.
“Due to the out-of-pocket costs incurred, prompt turnaround in payment of 6-8 weeks is the guideline to ensure patients are not left short-changed for extended periods.
“However, I have this month received complaints from people who are only now being reimbursed for trips made as far back as August – seven months ago.
“This is a matter that has been raised before and the government has said it will address the issue, but it appears another case of it not having done what it said it would do, to the detriment of rural patients,” Mr Bull said.
“Obtaining a specialist appointment is hard enough at the present time, but then having to fork out the upfront costs and be made to wait triple the benchmark time to be reimbursed is just not good enough.
“I would hope this government allocates the necessary resources to ensure these applications are processed in a reasonable timeframe.
“While we continue to see the bureaucracy grow and the Premier’s personal office expand considerably since coming to office, we see areas that are important to taxpayers being ignored.”