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Friday, 15 November 2002
Page: 6555


Senator Mark Bishop asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 13 September 2002:

With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 463:

(1) What is the department's estimate, based on surveying its state offices, of the proportion of reimbursements made to veterans and widows because of the refusal of doctors to accept the Gold Card.

(2) Has the department sought to reissue Medicare cards; if so, in how many cases.

(3) (a) In how many cases has the department reimbursed veterans the Commonwealth Medical Benefits Schedule payment, plus any co-payment, regardless of the reason for the reimbursement; and (b) what were the reasons in each case.

(4) (a) On how many occasions in 2002 has the Repatriation Commission formally considered the need to approve `exceptional circumstances' as set out in paragraph 3.5.1 of the Treatment Principles; and (b) what specific `exceptional circumstances' have been approved.

(5) On a monthly basis, what is the value of reimbursements made since 1 July 2001.


Senator Hill (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answers to the honourable senator's questions:

(1) The records held by the Department of Veterans' Affairs State Offices do not include the detailed reasons for reimbursement and the data covers reimbursements for medical, allied health, dental and rehabilitation appliances. As a consequence, no reliable estimate can be made, and any estimate could potentially be misleading. Consequently, this information cannot be provided.

(2) The Department of Veterans' Affairs does not issue Medicare cards. The Health Insurance Commission (HIC) is responsible for issuing Medicare cards. Any veteran seeking assistance in regard to a Medicare card would be offered assistance to apply through the HIC.

(3) (a) and (b) As described in (1) above, the records do not include the detailed reason for reimbursement and the data includes reimbursements for other services. The data also includes reimbursements that have been made for medical and other services provided in the period between the effective date of eligibility under the Veterans' Entitlement Act 1986 and the date on which the person was notified of his or her entitlement. Consequently, this information is not available.

(4) (a) Up to 31 October 2002 formal consideration has been given on 2 occasions.

(b) The veterans' clinical need determined the exceptional circumstances in both cases.

(5)

Year

Month

National Total

2001

July

$69,084.72

August

$52,061.73

September

$54,978.15

October

$54,033.19

November

$44,655.16

December

$58,537.52

2002

January

$84,364.93

February

$55,198.76

March

$82,001.68

April

$66,370.80

May

$89,935.51

June

$63,144.18

July

$72,686.34

August

$77,206.66

Note: This table represents all reimbursements, irrespective of reason. It includes medical, allied health, rehabilitation appliances, dental and other reimbursements.