Patients get help with bills
RURAL patients will now be paid more to help cover their health bills.
From January 1 the mileage subsidy rate doubled from 15 cents to 30 cents per kilometre, and the accommodation subsidy rate increased from $30 to $60 per person per night for commercial accommodation.
Gayndah Hospital’s director of nursing, Ben Gardiner, said the Patient Travel Subsidy Scheme was vital for the region’s patients.
“It’s primarily for outpatient visits to specialists in Bundaberg and Brisbane,” Mr Gardiner said.
“Hundreds of people use it. We process them every month,” he said.
The increased accommodation subsidy also means people eligible for the scheme will nowbe able to stay free at the Rotary Lodge in Bundaberg.
Previously the foundation required a $10 co-payment from eligible patients and carers.
CancerCouncil Queensland spokeswoman Katie Clift said the increase would ease the financial burden on regional patientswho have to travel to larger centres for treatment.
“Research shows cost is a major barrier that prevents regional people from accessing life-saving health services,” Ms Clift said.
“This is one of many necessary steps to help our regional patients access vital treatment and care, to ensure their best chance of recovery,” she said.
Rotary Lodge opened in March 2011 and offers low-cost accommodation that is regularly used by North Burnett residents.
Patients and their carers who must travel more than 50km from their closest public hospital for a specialist service are eligible for the subsidies.
Patients can fill out an application form at health.qld.gov.au/ptss/ or call 1343 2584.