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Factsheet HIP80 - Health Providers - Veterans’ Transport Information

Purpose

This Factsheet outlines travel assistance available to DVA clients under the Repatriation Transport Scheme when they need to attend approved treatment.

What assistance is available under the Repatriation Transport Scheme?

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) may provide financial assistance with travelling expenses for DVA clients to attend a health provider for medical treatment within Australia.

DVA may also arrange transport under the Booked Car with Driver (BCWD) Scheme for travel to approved treatment locations. Under the BCWD Scheme, DVA provides taxi or hire car transport to and from approved treatment locations and the DVA client's permanent residence, or temporary residence if the client requires medical treatment when travelling away from home.

The BCWD Scheme contracts local transport providers who are committed to providing trained drivers aware of the needs of the veteran community, especially aged and frail veterans and war widows.

Who is eligible for assistance under the Repatriation Transport Scheme?

  • DVA Health Card - For All Conditions (Gold) holder under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 (VEA) or Totally & Permanently Incapacitated holders, are entitled to assistance with their transport expenses while travelling for the treatment of all health conditions; or
  • DVA Health Card - For Specific Conditions (White) holders, are entitled to assistance with their transport expenses while travelling for the treatment of their DVA accepted condition/s.

Note: Persons with eligibility under the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA), the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act (Defence-related Claims) 1988 (DRCA) and the Australian Participants in British Nuclear Tests (Treatment) Act 2006 may have entitlements that vary from those outlined in this Factsheet. They are advised to contact DVA using the general enquiries details listed under ‘More Information’ at the end of this Factsheet for further information.

Who is eligible for a DVA arranged taxi or hire car under the Booked Car With Driver Scheme?

DVA clients may receive BCWD services to attend all approved treatment locations if they are Gold card holders aged 80 years of age or over; legally blind, or suffering from dementia (regardless of age).

DVA clients may receive BCWD services to attend all treatment locations for their accepted service related condition/s and accepted non-liability health care, whether war caused or not if they are a White Card holder who are:

  • aged 80 years of age or over; or
  • legally blind (regardless of your age); or
  • suffering from dementia (regardless of your age)

Gold card holders or White card holders (in accordance with your accepted disability) aged 79 years or younger can declare their eligibility for BCWD services if they have one or more of the following medical conditions:

  • psychosis;
  • hemiplegia;
  • ataxia;
  • respiratory insufficiency severely limiting independent activity;
  • cardiac failure severely limiting independence;
  • recent coronary occlusion severely limiting independence;
  • peripheral vascular disease severely limiting independence;
  • amputation severely limiting independence;
  • arthritis severely limiting independence;
  • recent surgery severely affecting your capacity to use public transport;
  • conditions that would cause you to be gravely embarrassed or that are unacceptable to other passengers on public transport e.g. incontinence of bladder or bowel, severe deformity or disfigurement;
  • significant trauma; or
  • frailty that severely limits your independence.

Treatment locations

DVA clients aged 79 years or younger who meet any of the above medical criteria, may have access to BCWD services to travel to any of the following approved treatment locations:

  • former Repatriation General Hospitals;
  • public and private hospitals, including outpatient services;
  • providers of prosthetics, surgical footwear and orthotics;
  • Office of Hearing Services accredited providers;
  • medical specialist rooms; and
  • radiology, imaging and pathology services.

Are there travel limitations?

DVA arranged transport is provided to the Closest Practical Provider (CPP). The CPP is the health provider who is closest to their permanent or temporary residence, who is able to provide the appropriate treatment, and who is recognised as an approved provider by DVA.

A DVA client who chooses to seek treatment from a health provider who is not their CPP and who is more than 50 km (one way) from their permanent or temporary residence will need to arrange their own transport and seek reimbursement from DVA. The CPP will be considered when calculating the amount of reimbursement for their travel.

Please see Factsheet HSV02 Claiming travelling expenses under the Repatriation Transport Scheme for information about reimbursement of privately incurred expenses.

Can a medically required attendant travel with a DVA client?

Yes, a medically required attendant* can travel with a DVA client. This does not include occasions when the client travels by ambulance or is receiving treatment as an inpatient at a hospital, as the attendant role is fulfilled by medical staff.

DVA can also arrange a wheelchair accessible vehicle as required.

Note: A medical attendant is any person who is responsible, competent and physically able to assist you while you are travelling to treatment.  They do not have to be medically qualified.

Does BCWD also include transport home?

Yes. Generally the transport provider that delivers the DVA client to the treatment location will transport them home at the end of the appointment but it may not always be the same driver. The client or their health provider can contact DVA to arrange their return travel. Contact numbers and other ways to contact the DVA to arrange transport are listed below.

Does the RTS provide long distance transport?

DVA may arrange air or train transport in certain circumstances where this is considered the most suitable and economical means of transport. Please contact DVA to enquire or to make arrangements. Financial assistance towards the cost of meals and accommodation may be available.

How are travel bookings made with DVA?

You can book transport online if you are registered for DVA’s HPOnline service. You can contact DVA service provider enquiries number under ‘More Information’ below for further information about this system or by sending an email to the HPO inbox at HPOnline@dva.gov.au.

DVA clients, their carers or health providers can arrange transport by contacting the transport booking numbers under ‘More Information’ at the end of this Factsheet.

Reimbursement: what travel expenses can be claimed?

DVA may assist clients with reimbursement of travelling expenses for the use of private vehicles, privately arranged taxi transport, air travel and public or community transport. For further information regarding reimbursement of travelling expenses, including rates, please see DVA Factsheet HSV02 Claiming Travelling Expenses Under the Repatriation Transport Scheme.

Does DVA pay for emergency ambulance transport?

In a medical emergency, DVA clients are eligible for ambulance transport to the nearest clinical facility which meets their clinical need. If there is a medical emergency request ambulance transport by dialling 000.

Does DVA pay for non–emergency ambulance transport?

DVA will pay for non–emergency ambulance transport if the client:

  • requires transport on a stretcher
  • requires treatment while in the ambulance
  • is severely disfigured; or
  • is incontinent to a degree that rules out the use of other forms of transport.

The transport must also be to or from the nearest clinical facility to a current residence, whether temporary or permanent that can treat the clinical needs. 

A Local Medical Officer (LMO), General Practitioner, hospital physician or hospital discharge planner can arrange non–emergency ambulance transport by contacting your State or Territory ambulance provider.

What is the Country Taxi Voucher Scheme for NSW?

A NSW country Local Medical Officer (LMO) may, when clinically necessary or at the request of DVA, issue taxi vouchers to DVA clients who require assistance when travelling for treatment purposes. This Scheme operates only in regional New South Wales and does not operate in the metropolitan areas of Sydney, Canberra or Wollongong and it is also not available for travel crossing state and territory borders.

When issuing taxi vouchers to DVA clients, the LMO must bear in mind that:

  • taxi vouchers should be issued only to those who have a clinical need and who are entitled to travel under DVA arrangements
  • when a DVA client satisfies the clinical criteria, there is the option of providing home visits instead of issuing taxi vouchers
  • they must be referred to the closest practical health provider that can treat their clinical needs; and
  • a DVA client must travel with a DVA contracted transport provider. Please see the list of regional NSW transport contractors available on the Travel for Treatment page of the DVA website at www.dva.gov.au/health-and-wellbeing/home-and-care/travel-treatment#bookedcar

What if the DVA client is discharged after hours or on a weekend?

Where DVA clients in country areas of NSW require urgent travel for treatment outside of normal DVA business hours and a NSW country taxi voucher is not available, you should telephone your local DVA contracted transport provider and advise them of the journey details and DVA file number. DVA will arrange payment of this journey direct with the contracted transport provider.

Can DVA request information from my clinical provider?

Yes. Entitled persons who receive treatment under their DVA Gold or White Card have given their authorisation to DVA to obtain relevant medical information regarding treatment they received.

Note - DVA clients Repatriation Health Card states: “By using this card, the person named consents to the disclosure to DVA of the details of any treatment, treatment related services and financial information associated with its use and warrants that any services claimed for that use have been provided”

More Information

DVA General Enquiries

Metro Phone: 1800 550 457*

Phone: 1800 555 254 *

Email: GeneralEnquiries@dva.gov.au

DVA Website: www.dva.gov.au

Factsheet Website: www.dva.gov.au/factsheets

Transport Bookings

Phone: 1800 550 455 *

HPOnline Enquiries: hponline@dva.gov.au

DVA Service Provider Enquiries

Phone: 1800 550 457 *

Service Provider Website: www.dva.gov.au/service_providers

Veterans' Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisory Centre (VAPAC)

Providers Phone: 1800 552 580 *

Veterans Phone: 1800 500 869 *

* Calls from some mobile phones and pay phones may incur additional charges.

Related Factsheets

Related Forms

Disclaimer

The information contained in this Factsheet is general in nature and does not take into account individual circumstances.  You should not make important decisions, such as those that affect your financial or lifestyle position on the basis of information contained in this Factsheet.  Where you are required to lodge a written claim for a benefit, you must take full responsibility for your decisions prior to the written claim being determined.  You should seek confirmation in writing of any oral advice you receive from DVA relating to complex or important matters.

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18 May 2018