“CPSA cautiously welcomes the increases in travel and accommodation allowances for people in regional and remote areas announced by the NSW Government,” said CPSA Policy Coordinator Paul Versteege.
“The increase of 30 per cent in the accommodation allowance under the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Scheme is particularly welcome, but at $43 for singles and $60 for couples it remains low. The cost of accommodation will continue to be a significant barrier for country people to receive medical treatment in towns and cities.
“Also missing in the changes to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Scheme is a regular indexation mechanism to ensure travel and accommodation allowances keep pace with the actual cost of accommodation and petrol. CPSA would like to see percentage based assistance provided through a voucher system to ensure that 75 per cent of costs are covered and people don’t have to advance the money.”
Taking effect on 1 January 2012, changes to the Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Scheme (IPTAAS) are:
· An increase in the rates for travel and accommodation assistance for people needing to travel at least 100 kilometres one way for specialist medical treatment.
· Accommodation allowance increase to $43 per single person and $60 per double up from $33 per single and $46 per double.
· Car travel allowance increase to 19 cents per kilometre, up from 15 cents.
· Accommodation allowance for staying with family and friends when receiving specialist medical treatment increases to $140 per week, up from $30 per week.
· Any patient travelling at least 200 kilometres in one week will also be able to claim IPTAAS subsidies.
· Once a patient’s IPTAAS subsidies reach $1,000 within a year, the $40 administration fee will be waived.
CPSA represents pensioners of all ages, superannuants and low-income retirees. CPSA has 137 Branches and Affiliated Organisations, with a combined membership of 31,000 people.
Media Contact: Paul Versteege, Policy Coordinator
Mobile: 0410 612 182