Man in the dark over fee refund

Cressy’s Stephen Willison-Patch, pictured with wife Carolyn, says he is likely one of many Colac Area Health patients unaware that the hospital owes them a $60 refund for an incorrectly charged fee.

A Cressy man who was wrongly charged $60 to attend Colac Area Health’s urgent care says the hospital should contact him and offer reimbursement for the fee.

Colac Area Health agreed to refund urgent-care patients charged $60 after Victoria’s Health Minister Jill Hennessey ordered the hospital to scrap the fee last month.

Colac Area Health introduced the fee in February after it employed its own doctors in urgent care, but the minister ruled it was in breach of state-national health agreements that stop a public hospital from charging for services provided by its own employees.

But Colac Area Health chief Geoff Iles has told the Colac Herald it is “logistically very difficult” for the hospital to directly contact patients owed a refund.

He also said cases where people paid electronically lacked “collection of data around names or addresses”.

Colac Area Health has advertised the refund in local media and online, asking affected patients to contact the hospital.

Stephen Willison-Patch said he was unaware he was owed a $60 refund when the Colac Herald contacted him this week.

Mr Willison-Patch attended urgent care in March with acute pneumonia and later paid the fee, despite being transferred to Geelong due to his condition.

“I think that is pretty poor on their account that they haven’t followed up with everyone,” Mr Willison-Patch said.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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