Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme
If you live in rural and regional Victoria, seeing a medical specialist can require a lot of travel and you may also require accommodation.
The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) may provide financial help for costs involved. VPTAS provides financial subsidies to eligible patients living in rural and regional Victoria who need to travel long distances to access medical specialist services.
In order to receive a subsidy you will need to complete a VPTAS claim form.
You may be eligible for subsidies if you meet all three of the following requirements:
- You live in rural Victoria. Refer to the rural areas map.
- Your treatment is included in the list of eligible medical specialist treatments.
- You need to travel 100 kilometres or more one way or you need to travel (on average) 500 kilometres per week for five or more weeks in a row. Use the route planner to work out your travel distances.
Assistance may also be provided to Victorian residents who are referred to an interstate specialist when the service is not available in Victoria or if it is the nearest location. The specialist must confirm in writing that you can’t get the service in Victoria.
If you are eligible for travel support you will receive:
- 17 cents per kilometre if a private car is used.
- Full economy class fare reimbursements for public transport.
- Air travel reimbursement - only if the journey exceeds 350 kilometres one way and a commercial flight is used.
- Taxi travel reimbursement - only to or from the nearest public transport when there are no other transport options.
Only the direct routes from your home address to the appointment and back to your home address are covered. Any other travel is not included.
Your GP is expected to provide a referral to the closest specialist available to you. You may choose to travel to a different specialist. If you do, the subsidies you get will be worked out as if you were seeing the closest specialist.
If you are not the primary card holder of an Approved Pensioner Concession Card or Health Care Card you will pay the first $100 each ‘treatment year’ for your travel and accommodation. After that you will get full assistance from VPTAS for the remainder of that treatment year. A treatment year starts at the date of your first appointment with your specialist.
Further subsidies may be available if you require accommodation.
Your specialist will need to complete part of your claim form for the number of nights of accommodation required.
Your specialist may also approve an escort (partner/carer) to accompany you. They must be 18 years of age or older.
If approved, a maximum of $35.00 per night, plus GST, is available for you and the approved escort to stay in commercial accommodation - that is, any accommodation that is registered as a business and has an Australian Business Number (ABN).
Use the VPTAS claim form to apply and have your specialist complete their section of the form. Each form includes space for four trips in the diary section.
If you need to add more trips attach additional travel diary pages and attach to your VPTAS claim form. Please note that any additional travel diary pages must be signed and dated by your specialist.
Use the checklist for help with filling out your form.
All claim forms should be sent to:
PO Box 712
Ballarat VIC 3350
Your claim form must arrive no later than 12 months from the date of the first listed approved medical specialist appointment. Original receipts for travel and accommodation need to be sent with your claim form. Petrol receipts are not required. The lodgement date for the form is the date the VPTAS Office receives your completed claim form.
Your claim for will be processed within six to eight weeks of lodgement. You will be notified by letter if your claim is unsuccessful.
In cases where the VPTAS Office declines part or all of a VPTAS claim, you can request a review within three months. You need to write to the VPTAS Review Manager and send the request to the VPTAS office.
The VPTAS complaint handling and review policy outlines the processes by which the VPTAS office within the department manages complaints and requests for claim reviews.
PO Box 712
Ballarat VIC 3350
Further information about the VPTAS scheme can be found in the VPTAS Guidelines.
Phone: 1300 737 073