Ex­tra trans­port sup­port

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS -

The Vic­to­rian coali­tion would ease the cost of ac­cess­ing spe­cial­ist health­care for peo­ple liv­ing in coun­try Vic­to­ria by in­creases re­im­burse­ment rates for the Vic­to­rian Pa­tient Trans­port As­sis­tance Scheme if elected next month.

Peo­ple who have to travel more than 100 km one way or 500 km a week for spe­cial­ist med­i­cal treat­ment are el­i­gi­ble for fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance un­der the VPTA scheme to help with the cost of trav­el­ling to and stay­ing near the treat­ment.

Vic­to­rian Mem­ber for Ovens Val­ley Tim McCurdy said the pol­icy recog­nised coun­try peo­ple, who have to travel long dis­tances to see med­i­cal or den­tal spe­cial­ists, were dis­ad­van­taged by the spi­ralling costs.

The coali­tion is propos­ing an in­crease from $45 to $60 for nightly ac­com­mo­da­tion and the cents a kilo­me­tre re­im­burse­ment rate ris­ing from 21 cents to 25 cents.

‘‘A Lib­eral Na­tion­als gov­ern­ment will also make sure pa­tients and car­ers are re­im­bursed faster by em­ploy­ing more staff to halve re­im­burse­ment turn­around times,’’ Mr McCurdy said.

‘‘Ten ex­tra staff, ded­i­cated to help­ing pa­tients ef­fi­ciently through the sys­tem and im­prov­ing re­im­burse­ment times, will be lo­cated in Bal­larat.

Mr McCurdy said a Lib­eral Na­tion­als gov­ern­ment would in­ves­ti­gate the scheme to en­hance ac­cess, in­clud­ing con­sid­er­ing the min­i­mum and cu­mu­la­tive dis­tance thresh­olds, stepped pay­ments for longstay pa­tients and in­clu­sion of pa­tients who travel to ac­cess clin­i­cal tri­als or re­quire emer­gency care.

‘‘The Lib­eral Na­tion­als are com­mit­ted to de­cen­tral­is­ing Vic­to­ria and en­cour­ag­ing growth in our re­gional ar­eas; but to do that we need to en­sure that all Vic­to­ri­ans can ac­cess top qual­ity health­care,’’ he said.

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