Pa­tients get help with bills

Central and North Burnett Times - - LOCAL NEWS -

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.

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