"Lack of information and confusion on PATS"
About: GPs in the Durack Electoral District GPs in the Durack Electoral District GERALDTON 6530 Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Midwest Patient Assisted Travel Scheme - WACHS Midwest Geraldton 6530
Posted by jupitermp99 (as ),
I've relatively recently discovered this wonderful benefit offered to rural people for assistance in paying for medical costs due to living away from services.
Unfortunately I have found out about this well into my third pregnancy. No doctor had advised we were eligible in previous pregnancies. I only found out about it when asking advice on a Facebook group as we were looking at needing to relocate to a city 5 hours away due to high-risk complications. Some members in the group asked why we were not eligible for PAT's. I then asked our doctor who I believe brushed it aside and said oh yes, you're eligible, don't worry we'll do all the paperwork after you have the baby.
Fast forward a couple of months and our baby is now 12 weeks old. The doctor charged us for the privilege of filling out the forms that should have been done at the beginning. Incorrectly as it turns out. Now we have been going backwards and forwards with the lovely ladies at our local hospital trying to figure out a way out of this mess. There is confusion as to what is covered and apparently may only cover for 4 visits to the city and not the birth, or maybe the birth? We had to relocate and live out of a hotel for 5 weeks (4 weeks before baby arrived and 5 days after in accordance with hospital rules). Our credit cards were maxed out and we were lucky the dog kennel allowed us to pay in payment plans.
We are now told if we try claiming for the birth with the 5 week stay in there, the entire claim might be refused and could cost us even more money, let alone the waste of time, stress and energy this has caused. We are feeling alone, completely frustrated and uncertain as to what to do from here.
This service is fantastic but why are patients not being advised that they are eligible?
Why are we being told we should be checking the doctors and making sure they do their job right, then being charged when they don't?
Why is a service that is supposed to help alleviate some of the financial burden so difficult to get?
Are doctors told not to offer this information to save the government money?