Feedback sought: emerging members’ issues around MASS

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Queenslanders with Disability Network (QDN) has received feedback from some members using equipment supplied by the Medical Aids Subsidy Scheme (MASS) about changes in regard to repairs of their equipment. QDN members report

they have only recently had these changes raised with them by MASS and that the changes reflect a different approach by MASS in responding to repair issues.

Most importantly, QDN and our members are concerned the changes impact upon the ability of people with disability to get out-and-about and to socially and economically participate in their community.

Examples of the changed approach by MASS include:

  • Issues raised about a person having ‘excessive’ repairs and associated costs to their MASS funded mobility aids – ‘excessive’ being a term not previously raised with the person.  When questioned what was considered excessive, MASS responded there were no specific guidelines around this.
  • Verbal and written information from MASS to some people that, from now on, there will be an annual capped limit for repairs to mobility aids. For example, a person was sent a letter saying they would be on an annual cap of $1,500.00 for repairs and maintenance to their power chair. Similar written advice has not previously been received by the person.
  • Refusal by MASS to fund repairs due to accidental damage to MASS funded mobility aids (primarily power wheelchairs). For example, a person had accidently damaged the control panel of their power chair and was told as it was accidental damage MASS could not pay for it. The person has previously had accidental repairs approved by MASS.
  • Advice from MASS to use taxis, instead of wheelchairs, for community access for longer trip; to reduce ‘excessive’ repair and/or maintenance costs and to reflect ‘reasonable community access’. The MASS guidelines do not define reasonable community access. Again, the person had not previously been advised of this and lives in an area with a shortage of maxi taxis
  • Information from MASS that their funded equipment is primarily for use in the home, and only for limited community access – a person was told they should not take their oxygen cylinder on a weekend away as it was primarily for home usage.

QDN is working with Health Consumers Queensland (HCQ), and Council on the Ageing Queensland (COTAQld) to understand the issues better, including whether the issues are state-wide or localised to particular areas in the state.

As such, we want to hear from service-users of MASS equipment who are not in the National Disability Insurance Scheme.  Your personal information will be kept confidential and only broad data, not individual data, will be discussed with another party.

If you or someone you know is experiencing similar or related issues with MASS; we are asking that you complete this short questionnaire.  Click here to access the questionnaire. The questionnaire closes Friday 10 August.

Please share this information and questionnaire link amongst your networks.

Please be aware your individual responses will be de-identified and any other information you provide (letters, equipment particulars) will remain confidential.

If you have concerns about filling in the on-line questionnaire: you can phone QDN on 1300 363 783 during the week between 9–4 pm and ask to speak with Helen Higgins or Karin Swift.