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Program 2.1: General Medical Consultations and Services

Description

Provide access to general and specialist medical and dental services to DVA clients.

Delivery

  • Ensure DVA clients have access to general and specialist medical and dental services by maintaining servicing arrangements with these practitioner groups.
  • Ensure a geographically diverse range of providers participates in the arrangements for provision of general and specialist medical and dental services to DVA clients.
  • Ensure a comprehensive range of general and specialist medical and dental services is available to DVA clients in order to meet their healthcare needs.
  • Facilitate effective payment of medical practitioners under the Department of Veterans' Affairs arrangements.

Medical services

At 30 June 2017, 193,968 DVA clients were eligible to receive treatment via a Gold Card or a White Card. During 2016–17, around 177,740 DVA clients collectively accessed an estimated 9.5 million medical and dental services.

Number of medical services

At the time of reporting, 8.63 million medical services had been provided and billed for 2016–17, compared to 9.0 million at the time of reporting in 2015–16. Current estimates are for 8.81 million services for the full year, a 3.8 percent decrease compared to 9.16 million for 2015–16.

Percentage of veteran population using medical services

In 2016–17, 91.7 percent of the veteran population used medical services, compared to 92.6 percent in 2015–16.

Price

At the time of reporting, the average cost per medical service was $81.66 in 2016–17 compared with $80.08 at the same time in 2015–16.

Table 17 shows the number of medical services provided and the average cost over the past five years, as reflected in current data.

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Table 17—Number of medical services provided and average cost 2012–13 to 2016–17
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Number of services 10,487,882 10,045,605 9,643,653 9,163,413 8,632,376
Average cost per service ($) 76.67 78.83 80.22 81.12 81.66
Proportion of treatment population1 (%) 94.9 93.5 93.5 92.6 91.7
  1. Treatment population is measured at 30 June for each financial year.

Note: Figures for previous years have been updated to reflect latest available claims data.

Dental services

At the time of reporting, 673,102 dental services had been provided and billed for 2016–17, compared to 679,065 at the time of reporting in 2015–16. Current estimates are for 686,891 services for the full year, a 0.8 percent decrease compared to 692,495 for 2015–16.

Table 18 shows the number of dental services provided and average cost over the past five years.

Table 18—Number of dental services provided and average cost 2012–13 to 2016–17
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Number of services 784,576 759,162 719,365 692,976 673,102
Average cost per service ($) 132.76 136.38 136.68 135.34 132.93
Proportion of treatment population1 (%) 38.7 37.7 37.4 37.0 36.2
  1. Treatment population is measured at 30 June for each financial year.

Note: Figures for 2015–16 have been updated to reflect latest available claims data.

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Service items processed by the Department of Human Services

DHS processes payments on behalf of DVA to providers of medical, allied health, community nursing and hospital services (see Program 2.2 for a full report on hospital services, Program 2.4 for details of community nursing services and Program 2.5 for allied health services).

A total of $2.03 billion was paid by DHS to DVA providers in 2016–17, compared to $2.05 billion in 2015–16.

Table 19 compares the number of items processed with the treatment population and average age at 30 June for the past five years.

Table 19—Health services items and treatment population 2012–13 to 2016–17
  2012–13 2013–14 2014–15 2015–16 2016–17
Items processed (millions) 20.6 20.0 19.0 18.3 17.7
Treatment population1 223,181 217,562 208,181 200,245 193,968
Average age of clients (years) 75.8 74.8 74.1 73.4 72.4
Paid items per client 92 92 91 91 92
  1. Treatment population is measured at 30 June for each financial year.

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Business activity

Coordinated Veterans' Care program

The Coordinated Veterans' Care (CVC) program is in its seventh year of operation. At 30 June 2017, 36,381 Gold Card holders had been enrolled since the program commenced. Approximately 23,000 are currently enrolled.

Reviews of the CVC program confirm that the overall implementation of CVC has been successful and the data from regular program reporting shows that the program design reflects evidence-based best practice for chronic disease management.

Telemonitoring

The participation of veterans and war widows in the In-Home Telemonitoring for Veterans Trial formally concluded in December 2016, following almost three years of involvement for some. The trial spanned over 50 general practices across sites in regional Queensland and New South Wales, as well as metropolitan Victoria. There were up to 250 participants over the course of the trial, with as many as 140 continuing until the trial's conclusion.

The trial used technology to monitor participants' vital signs with equipment installed in their homes, to assess the effectiveness of telemonitoring as a complement to conventional health care provided by general practice, for veterans and war widows with chronic conditions.

An independent evaluation was undertaken over the course of the trial, with the findings to inform future policy for digital technology and its ability to support the clinical needs of the veteran community.

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