Print

PTSS subsidies

PTSS subsidies

Patients eligible for PTSS can apply for subsidy payments to assist with the travel and accommodation costs of accessing specialist medical services.

Patients who require assistance when travelling can submit an application for an escort to travel with them.

PTSS subsidies for will be assessed against the PTSS Guideline.

The PTSS is not intended to cover the full costs associated with patients accessing specialist medical services.

The patient's approved mode of transport for the travel subsidy is determined by the most clinically appropriate and cost-effective mode of transport available. Modes of transport can include private motor vehicle (driving), bus, train, ferry or airplane.  In some cases, the approved mode of transport may be different for the forward and return journeys.

Hospital or health facilities will consider the individual circumstances of the patient when determining the approved mode of transport for the travel subsidy.

The mode of transport is approved by the local public hospital or health facility in line with the PTSS Guideline.

Subsidy amounts

Travel subsidies are calculated using the rates below:

Mode of transport Subsidy amount
Commercial—air, bus, ferry or rail Fully subsidised payment equal to the lowest available discount fare (including economy/government discount rates)
Private motor vehicle (driving) A rate of $0.30 per km, calculated using the fastest, toll free route in Google Maps or Whereis. The distance is calculated from the patient's closest public hospital or health facility to the nearest available public medical specialist service.

If the patient is required to travel more than 50 kilometres from the closest public hospital or health facility to reach the transport terminal, they are eligible for assistance for that leg of the journey.

If the local hospital or health facility books travel on behalf of the patient, the patient will not receive a travel payment as the cost of travel has been paid by the facility.

What is not covered?

  • Any additional costs resulting from a patient choosing to travel using a mode of transport different from what was approved.
  • Any GST paid by a patient when booking their own travel.
  • The cost of travelling to and from transport terminals when the distance is fewer than 50km from the closest public hospital or health facility.
  • The cost of travelling to and from medical appointments or accommodation. It also does not cover parking costs.
  • An additional travel subsidy for an escort when travelling by private motor vehicle with the patient.

For Example:

Lyla is a visually impaired patient travelling from Atherton to Cairns for specialist medical treatment.

Her PTSS application has been approved for private motor vehicle travel and an escort.

As Lyla and her escort will travel together, they will receive one travel subsidy payment equal to $0.30 per kilometre for the return journey from Atherton Hospital to Cairns Hospital.

Booking your travel

The local hospital or health facility will either book travel for the patient or provide information to assist them.

Alternatively, patients can book their own travel and submit tax invoices with their signed appointment attendance form to claim their approved subsidy. Patients are not required to provide receipts for private motor vehicle travel.

Travelling by car:

Patients travelling by car might like to consider:

  • if their accommodation has parking available,
  • any on-street parking restrictions that might be in place on the street around their specialist or accommodation,
  • the cost of car parking at the specialist and their accommodation,
  • allowing sufficient time to drive to their appointment—traffic and wayfinding can sometimes be difficult in an unfamiliar city or town,
  • printing a map of the town or city they are going to so they can find their way around.

Travelling by bus, ferry or rail:

Patients booking their own bus, ferry or rail ticket will need to provide a copy of their tax invoice to claim their approved subsidy.

Patients travelling by bus, ferry or rail might like to consider:

  • how they will get to and from the station—the PTSS subsidy does not cover the costs for getting to and from transport terminals when the distance is fewer than 50km from the patient's closest public hospital or health facility,
  • checking accessibility at the station if required,
  • arriving early to ensure they are at the station on-time,
  • if there are any restrictions or costs for leaving a car at the station,
  • printing a map of the town or city they are going to so they can find their way around.

Travelling by air:

Patients booking their own airfare will need to provide a copy of their tax invoice to claim their approved subsidy payment.

Patients travelling by air might like to consider:

  • how they will get to and from the two airports—the PTSS subsidy does not cover costs for getting to and from the airports when the distance is fewer than 50km from the patient's closest public hospital or health facility,
  • advising the airline of any special needs or conditions, prior to their flight including if they:
    • are travelling with a wheelchair and require wheelchair access,
    • need assistance boarding and disembarking the plane,
    • require a medical clearance,
    • are flying with medical aids or medicine/s,
    • are travelling with oxygen,
    • are travelling with an escort and would like to be seated with each other.
  • arriving at the airport in sufficient time to allow for check-in and security,
  • printing a map of the town or city they are going to so they can find their way around,
  • booking transport to and from the airport—sometimes it's cheaper to pre-book the taxi, Uber or airtrain.

The PTSS accommodation subsidy provides financial support for accommodation costs for as long as the patient is medically required to be away from home. Patients who need to relocate for treatment are still eligible for PTSS and should speak with their local hospital or health facility about long-term accommodation options.

For Example:

Scott and his son Rodney are temporarily relocating to Brisbane for Rodney’s Leukaemia treatment. As Rodney is under 18 years of age, he is automatically approved for an escort.

Rodney’s PTSS application has been approved for travel, accommodation and escort subsidies.

The end date for Rodney’s treatment is unknown so his local hospital has booked both Scott and Rodney a one-way airplane ticket to Brisbane.  Scott has organised accommodation with a local Non-Government Organisation (NGO) that will directly invoice his local hospital for the same amount as his approved subsidy.

As Scott and Rodney’s airfares have been paid for by their local hospital, and the NGO accommodation provider invoices the local hospital directly, they will not receive a PTSS subsidy payment, as they have not incurred any travel or accommodation costs.

To continue to have their accommodation paid for, Scott will need to provide evidence of Rodney's ongoing treatment in Brisbane.

When Rodney receives medical clearance to return home, Scott will need to speak with someone from the Brisbane facility about contacting his local hospital to arrange their travel home under PTSS.

Where a return journey cannot reasonably be completed in one day, for example, driving for longer than eight hours or for more than 600kms, where the patient has an early or late appointment time they may also be eligible for the accommodation subsidy.

The accommodation subsidy is available if patients chose to stay in paid commercial accommodation or with family or friends.

Any time the patient stays in hospital as an in-patient is not included in the patient’s accommodation subsidy. Approved escorts may still be eligible for their accommodation subsidy during that time.

For Example:

Esme is travelling for a knee replacement surgery and her local facility has approved her for travel, accommodation and escort subsidies.

For her treatment, Esme will be away from home for a total of seven nights, three of which she will spend in hospital as an inpatient. Esme has a Pensioner Concession Card so does not need to pay for the first four nights of accommodation for herself or her escort.

Esme has been approved for air travel and has booked the return airfares for herself and her escort Bill. She has also booked a hotel for $130 per night for the seven nights she will be away from home.

Esme and Bill will receive the following subsidy payments:

Travel subsidy

Both Esme and Bill will have the cost of their return economy airfares, minus any GST and booking fees, fully reimbursed in their travel subsidy payment.

Accommodation subsidy

Esme: $240 ($60 per night for the four nights she is not an inpatient).

Bill: $420 ($60 per night for the seven nights Esme needs to be away from home for treatment).

Total accommodation subsidy payment: $660 ($240 for Esme and $420 for Bill).

Esme and Bill will need to pay the additional costs for their seven nights’ accommodation.

The total costs of Esme and Bill’s accommodation for the seven nights’ is $910 ($130 x 6).

Esme and Bill will need to pay the extra cost of $250 ($910 - $660) for their accommodation.

Subsidy amounts

Accommodation subsidy payments are calculated using the amounts below:

Type of accommodation Subsidy amount
Commercial accommodation Up to $60 per night
Private accommodation $10 per night

What is not covered?

Eligible patients are required to pay for the first four nights of accommodation each financial year, unless they are a minor (under 18 years of age) or a concession card holder.

For Example:

Clive has been referred for specialist treatment in Brisbane and has applied for PTSS to travel between Charleville and Brisbane. This is the first time he will receive specialist treatment so he has not previously claimed a PTSS subsidy. Clive does not hold a concession card.

He is eligible for PTSS and has been approved by his local facility for travel and accommodation subsidies.

His travel has been booked and paid for by his local facility so he will not receive a travel subsidy payment as the cost has been paid by the facility.

Clive needs to stay in Brisbane for five nights for his treatment and is booking his own accommodation. As Clive does not have a concession card he is required to pay for the first four nights of accommodation before receiving an accommodation subsidy payment.

Clive’s subsidy payment will be $60 for one night’s commercial accommodation.

Any future applications approved for the accommodation subsidy within the same financial year will be paid at $60 per night.

If patients book their own commercial accommodation any GST they pay cannot be claimed.

If the local hospital or health facility books accommodation on behalf of the patient, the patient will not receive a payment as the accommodation costs have been paid by the facility.  If accommodation costs are more than the approved subsidy amount, patients are required to pay the additional costs.

Commercial accommodation

The local hospital or health facility will either book accommodation for the patient or provide information to assist them.

Alternatively, patients can book their own accommodation and submit their tax invoices to claim their approved subsidy payment.

Patients booking their own accommodation need to submit their tax invoices with their signed specialist certification form.

Patients staying in commercial accommodation might like to consider:

  • if they will need to pay any additional costs for accommodation—as they will only receive payment for the approved amount,
  • any time they might spend as an in-patient, as they will not receive an accommodation subsidy during this time,
  • their accessibility requirements, for example, wheelchair access or disabled parking,
  • the location of their accommodation in relation to their specialist,
  • how they will get to and from their accommodation when they arrive and leave,
  • how they will get to and from their appointment,
  • if car parking is available and how much it costs, if they are driving,
  • booking ahead and checking to see if there are any major events happening in the town or city that might limit accommodation options.

Private accommodation

Patients may be eligible for the PTSS private accommodation subsidy payment if they stay with family or friends.

Patients staying in private accommodation might like to consider:

  • the location of their accommodation in relation to their appointment,
  • how they will get to and from their accommodation when they arrive and leave,
  • how they will get to and from their appointment,
  • if  friends or family can help get them to and from their transport or appointment,
  • if the accommodation is suitable for their needs, including post treatment, for example, is it accessible and suitable for recovery.

Patients eligible for PTSS can apply for an escort to travel with them.

An escort is someone who accompanies the patient when travelling to access specialist medical treatment. This can be to assist them in their treatment, as an active carer or if the patient is impaired. An escort must be 18 years or older.

Patients should discuss their need for an escort with their referring clinician and the staff at their local travel office when they submit their application.

If the patient's clinician makes a recommendation for an escort, the local hospital or health facility will assess the request based on the eligibility criteria in the PTSS Guideline and the information the patient provided in their application.

Escorts are approved by the local hospital or health facility in line with the PTSS Guideline.

Patients are eligible for an escort if they:

  • Are a minor (under 18 years of age) or a dependent child.
  • Have a legal guardian who is required to make decisions regarding their healthcare.
  • Need assistance, for example, they require oxygen or sedation, are frail or elderly.
  • Have a life-threatening condition and/or need life-saving treatment.
  • Need someone to assist them with their treatment or rehabilitation, for example, they are undergoing major surgery, an organ transplant or renal dialysis and need a family member to help them at home.
  • Have a physical or cognitive impairment (e.g. brain injury or dementia), visual impairment, mental illness or where their mobility is impaired.

Unless otherwise approved, escorts are required to travel with the patient to be eligible for a subsidy. Only one travel subsidy is paid for private motor vehicle when a patient and escort travel together.

Travel and accommodation subsidies for approved escorts will be determined based on the PTSS eligibility criteria.