Cancer Council NSW has welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Health, Jillian Skinner that there will be an overhaul of the complex administration system of the Isolated Patient and Accommodation Assistance Scheme (IPTAAS) from January 2013.
The announcement will be good news for the thousands of patients who face high levels of complicated paperwork to reclaim costs for accommodation or petrol when travelling long distances for treatment.
From January 2013 improvement to the IPTAAS include:
o The current six-month deadline for patients to submit claims will be extended to 12 months;
o A broader definition of ‘authorised representative’ - a person who can sign the application form on behalf of the referring practitioner or specialist- will be introduced;
o The requirement for patients who have private health insurance fund to prove that they cannot claim travel and/or accommodation benefits from their fund will be abolished;
o Referring practitioners will no longer be required to complete his/her section of the application form, except in limited circumstances;
o A shortened and less complicated application form will be introduced.
Cancer Council NSW, Advocacy and Policy Manager Anita Tang, said the complexities of the system meant patients living in many regional areas had difficulty accessing the vital financial help they needed, leaving many of them struggling to reclaim their costs.
“Cancer Council NSW is delighted that from next year it will be easier for patients to apply for financial assistance.
“We have long been calling for the IPTAAS administration process to be simplified. These changes include providing extra time for patients to make their claims and a more streamlined application process will vital cancer treatment.
“We commend the Government for addressing this very practical challenge facing patients needing to travel for treatment, and for the range of reforms introduced over the past few years to reduce this burden on patients living some distance from specialist care.”
For more information about IPTAAS, visit: www.health.nsw.gov.au/living/transport/iptaas