Mildura Weekly : Friday December 9 Vol 11 No 6
NEWS 5 FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU A MILDURA woman, who is ineligible for the Victorian Patient Transport Assistant Scheme (VPTAS), says she feels “excluded” and “singled out.” Kaye Smith is calling for changes to the scheme “so that it covers everyone who lives re- motely”, after the 68-year-old was told she can- not apply for any VPTAS subsidies. VPTAS subsidises the travel and accommo- dation costs incurred by rural Victorians who have no option but to travel long distances to receive approved medical specialist services. An approved patient escort may also be eli- gible to seek assistance for travel and accommo- dation costs. Kaye says her husband Rodney – a Vietnam veteran – requires treatment in Melbourne for bone marrow cancer, and while he’s supported by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), she is unable to have any of her costs subsidised. Staying in Melbourne “for weeks at a time”, Kaye was told she can’t claim any accommoda- tion or travel costs through VPTAS because her husband is a member of DVA. “They have just excluded all partners and wives of veterans from being able to claim any subsidies,” Kaye explained. “There appears to be no reason behind it because I am not a part of Veterans’ Affairs, Rodney is. “Now they are saying because he is Veterans’ Affairs, I can’t claim anything through VPTAS, and I don’t know why they have excluded a group of people from it.” Staying at Vizard Foundation House while in Melbourne, Kaye said she is charged $45.10 a night – the same amount that an eligible bene- factor is subsidised by VPTAS. “This is going to be an ongoing thing,” she said. “While I am staying at Vizard House, peo- ple sitting next to me who are from Mildura are covered, but for some unknown reason they are excluding one group of people.” Turned away from VPTAS and DVS, Kaye feels frustrated that she’s unable to receive any financial assistance during such an emotional time. “Veterans’ Affairs don’t recognise me, they only look after Rodney,” she said. “While VPTAS told me because my husband is a veteran I can’t get any assistance!” Along with contacting the Mildura Weekly, Kaye has approached Federal Member for Mal- lee Andrew Broad and Member for Mildura Pe- ter Crisp for assistance. “It has to be changed to cover everyone who lives remotely, regardless of what their husbands are,” she said. “The lady who runs Vizard House told me she has been fighting this for ages, but no one has been taking any notice.” A spokesperson from the Department of Health and Human Services said VPTAS aims to assist patients and carers, and encouraged Kaye to formally contact the organisation. “We encourage her to formally come to VP- TAS with a case, and we’ll try to assist where we can to resolve the situation,” the spokesperson said. “We understand it’s an impost on a carer, and while we are not making any promises, we are happy to look at the circumstances, and hopefully there is an opportunity to sort some- thing out.” ‘Singled out’ resident calls for changes to VPTAS By Adam Luitjes firstname.lastname@example.org @MilduraWeekly @MilduraWeekly • FRUSTRATED: Kaye Smith – pictured with husband Rodney who is battling bone marrow cancer – is calling for changes to be made to the Victorian Patient Transport Assistant Scheme (VPTAS). *Offer applies to vehicles ordered and delivered between 01.12.16 and 24.12.16. Excludes BMW M models. While stocks last and cannot be combined with any other offer. Excludes fleet, government and rental buyers. Please consult Mildura BMW for further details. Mildura BMW Cnr Seventh St & Etiwanda Ave, Mildura. Ph (03) 5021 2999. www.mildurabmw.com.au LMCT 10074 SAVINGS ACROSS THE RANGE. * With exceptional savings across the BMW range,* the Ultimate Driving Machine of your dreams can become a reality. Arrange a test-drive at Mildura BMW today. THE BMW SUMMER SALES FESTIVAL AT MILDURA BMW.
Friday December 2 Vol 11 No 5
Friday December 16 Vol 11 No 7