Subsidy FAQs

What subsidies are available through PATS?

Travel and accommodation subsidies are available for eligible patients and approved escorts.

Go to PATS Subsidies for full information on available subsidies.

Are PATS subsidy payments capped at a certain dollar amount per person or per year?

No. There are no limits to PATS subsidy payments.  Eligible patients will receive subsidies as per the PATS Guideline for as long as medically needed. Patients undergoing long-term treatment may be asked to give updated information.

Can I receive financial help from other sources as well as PATS?

If you are eligible to receive financial help for travel and accommodation to access medical specialist services from other sources, such as Department of Veterans’ Affairs, workers compensation or other insurance you are not eligible for PATS.

Am I eligible for PATS accommodation assistance after I get out of hospital or after I've been taken to hospital in an emergency?

Yes if:

  • you are returning by air travel and you are unable to fly until medical clearance to fly is provided by the treating medical      practitioner. (Note: airlines have guidelines on the period of time a person should not travel by air after serious illness, injury, surgery or hospitalisation. You should check with your doctor that they are satisfied you are able fly)

  • transport schedules do not permit immediate transport home on the day of discharge. This only applies where the earliest available transport of the approved type is utilised

  • you have to remain overnight while in transit (for example, when you are waiting transfer back to a remote community), and/ or

  • you are required to return to the specialist for a follow-up appointment within a short period after discharge from hospital.

Am I eligible for the accommodation subsidy if I stay with family or friends?

You are eligible for PATS assistance if you choose to stay with family and/or friends. This is referred to as private accommodation. See PATS Subsidies for full information on subsidy rates for private accommodation.

What is classified as commercial accommodation?

Commercial accommodation includes hotels, motels, caravan parks, apartments, bed and breakfasts, rental arrangements, flats or accommodation facilities associated with non-government organizations, such as the Ronald McDonald House.

I've had a medical emergency and have been sent to hospital with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) or by Inter Hospital Patient Transfer (sent from one hospital to another).  Am I eligible for an escort while I'm in hospital?

An escort is usually not required while a person is being treated in hospital, unless there are special circumstances which are requested by the treating specialist. You may be eligible for an escort after you have been discharged if you need assistance to return home.

In this situation approval for an escort must be obtained from your local PATS office prior to the escort travelling.

Are patients and escorts eligible for an accommodation subsidy while the patient is in hospital?

Patients will not receive an accommodation subsidy for any period where they are in hospital overnight. Approved escorts may still be eligible for their accommodation subsidy during that time.

I've had a medical emergency and have been sent to hospital with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) or by Inter Hospital Patient Transfer (sent from one hospital to another).  Am I eligible for PATS to return home?

Yes, you are eligible for assistance to return to the place where you usually reside.

Must escorts travel with the patient?

Yes, to be eligible for subsidy payment escorts must travel with the patient.

Separate travel may be approved if the patient has received emergency transport and prior approval for an escort was not possible, or if an escort was not required at the time of initial application. In this situation approval for an escort must be obtained from your local PATS office prior to the escort travelling.

If the patient has been approved for an escort in a previous application will they always receive approval for an escort?

The requirement for an escort will be assessed for each application as per the PATS Guideline .

Does the patient’s escort have to be the same person each trip?

No, patients do not have to travel with the same escort each trip. So long as the patient’s need for an escort meets the eligibility criteria, approved patients can have a different escort for each trip.

Are patients able to travel with someone if they haven’t been approved for an escort?

Yes, but this person will not receive a PATS subsidy payment. Eligible patients will still receive their approved subsidies.

Does PATS only cover travel from the town centre?

Generally, distance is worked out using the most direct or common route from the nearest town centre to your permanent residence and the commercial business district (CBD) of the treatment centre you are travelling to.  For travel to the Perth metropolitan area, this is the Perth CBD, regardless of which suburb your appointment is in. If you live a long way from your nearest town centre, talk to your local PATS office, and they may add the extra kilometres (the distance between your home and the town centre) to your claim. 

Does the travel subsidy include travel to and from transport terminals?

The cost of travelling to and from transport terminals is not covered by PATS.

Will PATS pay for taxi vouchers?

Not usually. In limited and exceptional circumstances, they may be provided. For example, if a person is using a wheelchair, is blind or has severe vision impairment, or has an intellectual disability. PATS staff will consider such requests on a case-by-case basis.

 How is the approved mode of transport determined?

The mode of transport is assessed against the information provided in the PATS application and the PATS Guideline .

The mode of transport 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.

Application assessments will consider the individual circumstances of the patient when determining the approved mode of transport for the travel subsidy. Advice from clinicians, allied health professionals, social workers and liaison officers, will be considered when assessing the patient’s application.

 Will I receive a travel subsidy if I use a mode of transport different from what was approved?

Yes, if you choose a mode of transport different from what was approved you are eligible to receive the travel subsidy equivalent to the approved mode of transport.