- The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme (VPTAS) provides financial assistance to eligible Victorians who must travel a long way for specialist medical treatment.
- VPTAS is a subsidy scheme and not intended to reimburse all costs associated with accessing specialist treatment.
- To be eligible, patients must live in a designated rural area and travel 100km one way or 500km per week to see a medical specialist. Full eligibility list and exclusions listed below.
- An approved medical specialist or authorised officer must sign the claim form.
- Payment of claims can take up to 6-8 weeks from receipt. All sections of the claim form must be fully completed to ensure your claim is able to be assessed.
- Please contact the VPTAS office on or if you have any questions.
VPTAS claim form
The VPTAS claim form is available for downloading below.
To receive direct payment by electronic funds transfer (EFT) of approved VPTAS transport and accommodation subsidies, a claimant's bank account information needs to be filled out in Section E of the claim form.
Translations of VPTAS guidelines and feedback documents now available
The Victorian Patient Transport Assistance Scheme's (VPTAS) guidelines and feedback policies are now available for download in 11 different community languages from the Health Translations website.
What is the VPTAS process?
To receive VPTAS assistance patients need to take the following steps:
- Check you are eligible.
- Understand what assistance is available.
- Review the claim form to understand and collect the necessary information.
- Fill in the VPTAS claim form.
- Have the VPTAS claim form signed by an approved medical specialist.
- Send the VPTAS form and required receipts/invoices to the VPTAS office.
Eligibility for VPTAS
The VPTAS guidelines provide details on eligibility. In summary, to be eligible for VPTAS patients must:
- be a Victorian resident
- live in a Department of Health & Human Services designated rural health region
- be receiving specialist medical treatment from a medical practitioner registered with Medicare Australia and recognised as a specialist in a particular specialty under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cwlth) as per Schedule 4 of the Health Insurance Regulations 1975
- need to travel more than 100 kilometres one way or an average of 500 kilometres a week for one or more weeks (travel distances can be determined using the Google® maps Get Directions function).
Patients are not eligible for VPTAS if they:
- participate in clinical trials or experimental treatments for medical research studies
- live in states or territories other than Victoria (unless they are a living organ donor to a Victorian patient)
- are away from their permanent place of residence when the treatment episode begins, such as when on holidays or while visiting friends or family either within Victoria or interstate
- are undertaking a journey to or from outside Australia for medical treatment
- are accessing allied health (for example, audiology, physiotherapy, podiatry, speech therapy)
- are accessing general practitioner (GP) services
- are eligible to claim assistance under another state or territory or from a registered benefit organisation including the Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- were injured in a motor vehicle accident and are covered by the Transport Accident Commission
- were injured at work and are covered by WorkSafe
- have received or claimed by way of compensation, damages or other payment in respect to the illness or injury being treated.
Contribute the first $100 each treatment year
The scheme has a contribution threshold of $100 for non concession card holders. This contribution threshold is an administrative process that is applied at the start of each treatment year. Once this contribution threshold has been reached, non-concession card holder will be eligible to receive subsidy payments. A treatment year starts from the date of the first appointment with a specialist. There is no contribution threshold for concession card holders.
People who are eligible for travel support will receive:
- 21 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 route to and from the person's home address is covered. Any other travel is not included. Google® maps Get Directions is used to determine the total eligible travel distance.
Travelling by public transport
People who are travelling by public transport and using a myki card should register their myki with Public Transport Victoria. They can access their travel history online and print a tax invoice statement of travel, which can be included with their VPTAS claim form.
Travel is subsidised to the nearest specialist
The person's GP is expected to provide a referral to the closest specialist available. If they choose to travel to a different specialist, the subsidies will be worked out as if they were seeing the closest specialist.
Applicants may be able to receive accommodation assistance up to a maximum of $45.00 per night ($49.50 including GST). This may be available to the applicant and their approved escort if:
- they stay in commercial accommodation - that is, any accommodation that is registered as a business and has an Australian Business Number (ABN)
- the specialist completes the VPTAS claim form stating the number of nights of accommodation required
- the specialist approves that partner or carer can accompany the applicant (they must be 18 years of age or older).
Who can be an approved patient escort?
When a patient is eligible for VPTAS, an approved patient escort is responsible for the patient’s transport and accommodation needs during treatment.
For further information regarding escorts, please refer to the VPTAS assessment guidelines below.
The VPTAS claim form must be completed by an approved medical specialist
Section C of the VPTAS claim form is to be filled out by an approved medical specialist or an authorised officer on their behalf.
Who is an approved medical specialist?
An approved medical specialist is a medical practitioner registered with Medicare Australia and recognised as a specialist in a particular speciality under the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cwlth) as per Schedule 4 of the Health Insurance Regulations 1975.
Who is an authorised officer?
An authorised officer is an individual who works with/for the approved medical specialist and can confirm the patient’s details and the approved medical specialist services received. An authorised officer can be a registrar, resident medical officer, intern, nurse, social worker, ward clerk or administration staff such as a receptionist. The authorised officer can sign a VPTAS claim form on behalf of the medical specialist. The medical specialist’s details must be provided.
Lodge the VPTAS claim form
Claimants should lodge the VPTAS claim by:
- submitting the completed VPTAS claim form no later than 12 months from the date of the first listed approved medical specialist service
- providing original receipts or tax invoices for travel and accommodation (petrol receipts are not required)
- completing the travel and accommodation diary within the claim form
- ensuring all information provided is true and correct
- making sure the medical specialist’s details are correctly completed on the claim form and the specialist or their authorising officer has signed the claim form.
- Mail claim form and original receipts to GPO Box 4057 Melbourne, VIC 3001
The claim lodgement date is the date the VPTAS office receives the completed claim form. The applicant should keep a photocopy of all receipts and documents, including the completed VPTAS claim form. Processing time and payment takes approximately six to eight weeks from the claim lodgement date. Payment will be made via electronic funds transfer (EFT) into the provided bank account detailed in Section E of the VPTAS claim form.
VPTAS Feedback - Complaints, compliments and reviews policy
VPTAS Feedback - Complaints, compliments and reviews policy provides assistance and advice for VPTAS consumers wishing to register a complaint, compliment or seeking a review of the outcome of their VPTAS claim form processing
Reviewed 24 November 2023