"PATS claims and new staff"

About: Meekatharra Community Health Service Meekatharra Hospital Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Midwest

(as a carer),

I went to our local PATS (Patient Assisted Travel Scheme) office in Meekatharra Hospital recently to claim travel assistance for an elderly lady to get x-rays and injection.  She was supposed to go to Geraldton a 570 km one way trip, now in the interim, she made appointments to see radiology clinic in Perth close to where her sister lives and when I went up to claim the fuel I was told, no. I asked why not and the staff member behind the counter said that I was not going to Geraldton. In my opinion, whether I go to Geraldton or Perth doesn't matter and at other times this has been approved.  So I went away and rang up several people only to be told, ring this person, ring that person and in the end I got hold of the staff member in Geraldton PATS office who said, go back to the hospital to put forms in again and send to a particular staff member who overrides decisions. This was approved and a relief for the elderly lady.

What I am saying is that:  you live a distance away from Geraldton and Perth, in some cases the doctor may say go to Geraldton for whatever reason, but that reason will not always be of benefit for patients.  Therefore, I believe it should be made mandatory that it doesn't matter where your appointments are, that the patient gets travel assistance for return travel to Geraldton.  In my opinion, it doesn't matter what circumstances, so long as the visiting specialist or hospital or doctor signs the blue PATS form and the yellow form is filled out to the best of patients knowledge.                            

Responses

Response from Michele Young, Coordinator Executive Services, Executive Services, WACHS - Midwest

picture of Michele Young

Dear butcherbird

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience on Patient Opinion. I was pleased to read that you were able to get the right advice and the lady you were assisting was able to claim the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) subsidy.

The PATS provides assistance for country Western Australian residents and their approved escorts who are required to travel more than 100km (one way) to access the nearest eligible medical specialist services, including Telehealth services. Referral to the nearest medical specialist is a PATS eligibility requirement. PATS staff can only provide the travel assistance rebates for the specific appointment/s and locations that have been approved on the form. There are opportunities to assess whether an alternate location is appropriate and PATS clients can discuss their case further with the Regional PATS Coordinator to establish if there are special circumstances which should be considered.

If you would like further information or clarification regarding PATS please don’t hesitate to contact Andrew Klein, District Operations Manager on 9956 2268 or Karen Street, Director Population Health on 9956 1962.

Thanks again for taking the time to write and I wish you all the best.

Kind regards

Michele

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