Call for audit into patient repayments

A LAUNCESTON man wants an external audit of a state Health and Human Services Department scheme after he waited five months to be reimbursed for medical travel expenses.

Reimbursement under the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme should take two weeks.

Rob Giblin has suffered from a range of ailments for several years and he will probably need a heart transplant in the next 12 months.

His illnesses have required travel to both Hobart and interstate to be treated by specialists, including neurologists, that he could not access in Launceston.

He said yesterday said that he applied to have a first round of expenses reimbursed by the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme last May and finally received $364.80 back on November 8.

He said scheme guidelines specified that reimbursement would be made within a fortnight.

Soon after seeking reimbursement for the first round of expenses, Mr Giblin's Melbourne specialist scheduled him for a procedure at the Monash Medical Centre in August. The procedure was not available in Launceston.

When he returned in August he claimed travel and accommodation expenses of almost $1300 after filling in the necessary forms and supplying the receipts for the expenses - and waited.

When no reimbursement had been made by early December, he rang the scheme office, was referred to the Northern office at the Launceston General Hospital and says that he was told on December 5 that the reimbursement would be in his account by December 7.

Yesterday he had still not received reimbursement.

Mr Giblin posted his concern on social media to see if others had similar experiences and received 29 replies in one night.

Northern Tasmanian Health Organisation chief executive John Kirwan said yesterday that Mr Giblin's application had been reviewed and he had received the level of support to which he was entitled.

Late yesterday Mr Giblin said that there was still no money in his account.

It is understood that an administrative error meant that his reimbursement had not gone through until yesterday.

It is also understood that the size of the reimbursement was considerably less than the claim.

Mr Giblin said that there had been no contact with him from Patient Travel Assistance Scheme staff questioning the amount he had claimed.

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