The Patient Assisted Travel Scheme (PATS) provides a subsidy to assist with travel and accommodation costs associated with needing to travel to access specialist medical services that are not available locally. The WA State Government recently advised of a funding commitment to further support PATS with:
- An increase in accommodation subsidy for eligible patients (commercial accommodation rate for eligible patients up to $100/night and commercial accommodation rate for eligible patients travelling with an approved escort up to $115/night)
- Expanded escort eligibility for women travelling to give birth
- Expanded escort eligibility for patients from vulnerable and disadvantaged client groups
WA Country Health Service (WACHS) is seeking GP participation to assist in the defining of “vulnerable and disadvantaged” client groups who will be eligible for an escort in the updated PATS Guidelines. This may include cultural differences, language barriers, and physical and cognitive disabilities or barriers. It should be noted that the existing Exceptional Ruling process will remain.
If you would like to be involved or receive regular email updates or have a quick chat about the expanded escort eligibility, please send an email to the PATS Area Office team at PATSAO@health.wa.gov.au.
Consultation will occur from early October to late November 2021, with the updated PATS Guidelines due to be complete at the end of the year.