Oxygen Supplement

Page last updated: 05 January 2017

The oxygen supplement is a primary supplement paid on behalf of residential care recipients (including those accessing respite) and home care recipients with a specified medical need for the continual administration of oxygen.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the oxygen supplement, a care recipient must have an ongoing medical need for the administration of oxygen – that is, the care recipient must need oxygen on a continual basis. The oxygen supplement is not payable for an emergency or for short-term illnesses, such as bronchitis.

The equipment used to provide the oxygen must be hired, temporarily obtained or owned by the residential or home care service.

You will need a certificate from a medical practitioner stating:

  • the care recipient’s particular oxygen requirements; and
  • the care recipient has a continual need for the administration of oxygen.

Applying for the Oxygen Supplement

The approved provider is responsible for completing the application form available on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website. Once the form is completed, the form and supporting evidence can be emailed to DHS: aged.care.liaison@humanservices.gov.au or posted to:

Department of Human Services
Aged Care
GPO Box 9923
SYDNEY NSW 2001

For enquiries about the progress of an application, approved providers can contact DHS on 1800 195 206 or email: aged.care.liaison@humanservices.gov.au.

Commencement of payment

The oxygen supplement is payable from the date of the delegate’s approval (on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of Health). In most circumstances the delegate will backdate payment to the date of medical certification; or the date the care recipient entered care, whichever is later.

Notification of approval will appear on a service’s Medicare payment statement. This is listed against the respective care recipient under the Payment Type column.

Supplement payment rates

The standard oxygen supplement is paid on behalf of an eligible care recipient to cover the cost of oxygen, oxygen equipment, and other costs associated with administration of continual oxygen therapy. The standard oxygen supplement is paid at the current daily rate listed on the Schedule of subsidies and supplements.

The higher oxygen supplement is equivalent to the actual cost of administering oxygen when the cost is equal to, or more than 125 per cent of the standard supplement.

Higher costs may occur when:

  • a care recipient’s oxygen flow rate requirements are higher than 4.2 litres per minute, so that a single concentrator is insufficient to provide this; and/or
  • a care recipient is provided with cylinder oxygen in addition to concentrator oxygen.

The higher supplement is not payable where higher costs are due to a more expensive source of supply. The rate of higher oxygen supplement payable is on a case by case basis, subject to delegate approval.

Changing providers

The oxygen supplement does not automatically follow the care recipient if they change providers. If you are the new provider for a care recipient previously in receipt of the oxygen supplement, you will need to reapply for the supplement on behalf of the care recipient. This applies to both home care and residential care.

Provision of oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy can be delivered using oxygen concentrators or oxygen cylinders, or a combination of both. An oximatic conserving device may be used to extend the life of an oxygen cylinder.

The amount of cylinder oxygen used may vary considerably between care recipients. Cylinder oxygen is often provided in addition to concentrator oxygen to ensure a care recipient retains full mobility, can walk around their home or aged care facility, make social outings and undertake a normal life.

Oxygen must be delivered in the most economical way available, taking into account the medical needs of the care recipient.

Other government payments

A home care recipient receiving oxygen therapy may also be eligible for the Essential Medical Equipment Payment. This is not a payment type specific to aged care and the care recipient is responsible for applying for this payment directly through Centrelink.

Care recipients eligible for oxygen supplement may no longer be eligible for state and territory government aids and equipment schemes. Please contact your jurisdiction for more information.

Enquiries

For enquiries regarding the oxygen supplement, please email subsidiesandsupplements@health.gov.au