QALS - General Information
History of Artificial Limb Funding in Queensland
In 1973, the Commonwealth Government, ‘Health Services for all Australians’ mandate included the ‘Free Limb Scheme’ (FLS), for the purpose of funding prosthetic limbs and services to eligible Australian residents, regardless of age. The scheme was managed and funded through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA), as an extension to the prosthetic services already being provided to disabled veterans.
In the early 1980s, a proposal was submitted by the DVA to the Commonwealth Government to transfer the operational governance of the scheme over to the individual state and territory governments, while the Commonwealth Government retained the funds. The FLS became known as the ‘Artificial Limb Scheme’ (ALS) effective on 1st September 1990 under a new policy agreement, with improved efficiency measures and funding expenditure, identified on a state by state basis.
Transitions negotiations occurred between 1994 -1998, between DVA and individual state and territory representatives, to further devolve the administration of the ‘ALS’ to state government level. Discussions were finalised between the Commonwealth and the Queensland Government with the introduction of the ‘Queensland Amputee Limb Service’ announced by the Department of Health on the 1st December 1998. The Queensland Amputee Limb Service (QALS) was established and given the responsibility for the administration of the ‘ALS’ as per the original legislation set in 1973, with operational and procedural guidelines set at state level. QALS remained a Commonwealth funded program until 2004, with annual activity reporting provided through Queensland Health, State-wide Services to the Commonwealth Government. When the QALS was introduced, it also continued the administration support for Veterans’ who received funding support under the DVA - Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP).
The ALS scheme became a Queensland Health broad-banded program under the 2003-2008 Australian Health Care Agreement with responsibility for the ongoing management of program placed under Queensland Government, in which they accepted the terms and conditions of the scheme agreeing to provide standard prosthetic services ‘free’ to all eligible, permanent Queensland residents, regardless of age. The Queensland Amputee Limb Service was renamed the Queensland Artificial Limb Service (still QALS) in 2009 to reflect the true nature of the service as a prosthetic funding scheme and not a hospital / clinical patient service.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and National Injury Insurance Scheme Queensland (NIISQ) were introduced in Queensland on 1 July 2016 under a three-year transition process, moving consumers from for the State operating programs, such as QALS, to the new National Scheme. Consumers 64 years and under, commenced transitioning over to NDIS for their ongoing prosthetic funding support, on the 1 July 2016 and expected to be finalised by 30 June 2019. Consumers who are 65 years or older remained under QALS with no change in service provision.
Any person injured in a motor vehicle accident in Queensland from 1 July 2016, resulting in a permanent disability and requiring ongoing assistive technology support, such as prosthetic limbs, will be supported under NIISQ, regardless of age. NIISQ will expand their scope to incorporate work injuries and medical negligence over the next three years.
Please see Links for contact details for the other ALS in Australia, NDIS, NISSQ
What is QALS?
QALS is the administration service responsible for the management of the funding support for the provision of definitive prosthetic services to eligible residents of Queensland, under the State Governments 'Artificial Limb Scheme'. QALS also provides administration services for Veterans’ living in Queensland who are eligible to receive funding support for prosthetic services under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Rehabilitation and Appliances Program (RAP).
The 'Artificial Limb Scheme' funds a variety of standard prosthetic services for people requiring a definitive prosthesis (artificial limb), for basic day to day activities. Annual funding limits apply to all services provided through QALS.
Prosthetic services are provided through Prosthetic Service Providers (PSP), also known as prosthetic limb manufacturers, recognised by QALS. Under the Therapeutics and Goods Act (TGA) 1998, only qualified Prosthetists are permitted to design, manufacture and fit a prosthetic limb, to a person requiring a prosthesis following an amputation. Under the Therapeutic Goods Regulations 2002, a prosthesis is listed as a custom made; single patient use only; Class 1 Medical Device.
QALS also networks with outpatient amputee clinics in both public and private health facilitates to ensure rehabilitation programs and clinical assessments are available to consumers, associated with the ongoing use of their prosthesis.
QALS funds prostheses (prosthetic limbs) for different types of amputations. A new prosthesis is expected to provide up to 36 months of use before a replacement is required. A replacement prior to this time period may require clinical justification and/or clarification by the PSP maintaining the prosthetic limb and components. The prosthesis and associated accessories, such as a gel liner, are to be maintained in a clean condition by the consumer. The normal level of provision is one standard prosthetic limb for each amputated limb. Prosthetic limbs should be checked and serviced annual by the PSP. Neglected or misused prosthetic limbs will not be repaired or replaced under QALS funding. Prosthetic limbs / sockets should only be replaced when medically or mechanically justified, not solely upon the age of the prosthesis.
QALS maintains a list of TGA certified standard components available for funding under the Artificial Limb Scheme, for all types of prosthetic limbs, based on different mobility levels for a variety of activity needs. Consumers may co-contribute or self-fund non-standard components beyond what the Government is able to fund. Any additional non-standard components, incorporated into a QALS funded prosthesis, must be discussed with the PSP and agreed it is suitable and safe for the consumer’s use. Components are expected to last the manufacturers expected period of use and/or warranty period associated with every day use, as identified by the supplier of the prosthetic component.
Socket Replacements and major repairs
Socket replacements and the replacement of major components will require an inspection of the prosthesis, and prior funding approval from QALS, before any repairs can commence. Warranty periods may apply to some components and services. Silicon and Gel liner replacements require prior funding approval before they can be issued, annual funding limits apply.
Minor repairs and annual service
Minor repairs and annual serving to your prosthesis can be arranged directly with the PSP. Warranty periods may apply to some components and services.
Standard consumable items such as- stump socks, shrinkers, gel socks and hand gloves are available to consumers on an annual basis, within set funding limits through the PSP.
|Item||Funding Limit||Approximate Number|
|Socks (cotton or wool)||$100||10|
|Lotions, Creams, Sprays||$90|
Standard prosthetic limbs and services approved for funding by QALS are supplied 'free of charge' to the consumer.
Consumers are encouraged to make appointments with their PSP as they deem necessary, to ensure they have a safe and comfortable fitting prosthesis for their everyday use and attend the appointments made by the PSP.
A person who has received compensation for their injury and/or limb loss should contact QALS to establish their eligibility for prosthetic funding assistance. A person who is seeking compensation may be provided standard prosthetic service assistance by QALS, until their legal matters are finalised. Contact the QALS office to identify what services are provided and/or re-admission process following compensation.