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NACCF - Minutes of meeting - 30 October 2018

Agenda Item 1. Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed members and the representative from the Department of Health (Health). The Chair provided an overview of the meeting agenda and noted the importance of the relationship between DVA and Health.

The Chair highlighted the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Invictus Games and DVA-led forums, and the announcement of the Australian Veterans’ Covenant, Lapel Pin and Veterans Card.

Agenda Item 2. Minutes & Actions Arising

The minutes of the 19 July 2018 NACCF meeting were accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting. Members noted that the minutes will be placed on the DVA website.

Members noted all remaining action items were closed.

Agenda Item 3. Chief Health Officer/Principal Medical Adviser Update

Dr Ian Gardner updated members on the ongoing investigation of DVA clients aged over 70 years of age experiencing difficulty in obtaining travel insurance when travelling overseas for a holiday. DVA has had discussions with one travel insurer which suggests that DVA’s arrangements are not well understood in the industry. DVA has met with the Insurance Council of Australia to discuss how to improve communications with the insurance industry so all parties are aware of veterans’ entitlements and how it may impact upon the purchase of their private travel insurance.

Dr Gardner provided information on: his attendance at the Warrior Care Symposium as part of the Invictus Games; Coordinated Veterans Care and encouraging eligible participants to participate in the program; the availability of a Shingles vaccine for clients aged over 70 years; his involvement with the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Reference Committee; and the ongoing investigation of Mefloquine and the co-design with Quinoline Veterans and Families Association / Open Arms - Veterans & Families Counselling Neurocognitive Health Program. 

Members noted the update.

Item Action Assigned to
86 An update on overseas travel insurance to be provided at the March 2019 meeting. Dr Gardner
87 Clarify why partners of clients, aged under 70 years of age, pay for the Shingles vaccine. Dr Gardner

Agenda Item 4. Member submission: GP referrals

The Vietnam Veterans’ Federation of Australia asked how the Improved Dental and Allied Health reform will improve services to DVA clients, noting that GPs will only be able to refer clients to access allied health services for up to 12 sessions or one year and the impact of this limit on clients with chronic conditions.

Dr Gardner discussed how the reform package announced in the 2018-19 Budget Improved Dental and Allied Health, re-balances DVA arrangements for purchasing dental and allied health services and delivers on the Government’s commitment for DVA to review these arrangements.

The reform package will deliver improved health outcomes for DVA clients through increased coordination of care and communication between GPs and allied health providers.  This will ensure the veteran community receives services that are clinically necessary and are the most effective form of treatment for their needs.

There is no restriction on the number of allied health services that can be provided and DVA clients, on average, visit their GP 12 times a year.  The new ‘Treatment Cycle’ arrangements are therefore not expected to be overly burdensome for either clients or GPs.  Oversight and review by the GP of allied health treatment is important to ensure treatment remains the most appropriate for needs, particularly when managing chronic conditions.

The Treatment Cycle will be evaluated in its first year of operation. The outcomes of the evaluation will be reported to Government in 2020. Members noted the discussion.

Item Action Assigned to
88 Members to be provided an update on the 2018-19 Budget measure Improved Dental and Allied Health at the March 2019 meeting. Dr Gardner
89 Data to be provided to members on the yearly average GP visits for DVA clients aged 60, 65 and 70. Dr Gardner

Agenda Item 5. Department of Health Update

Members were updated on current Department of Health projects and initiatives including:

  • A new residential care funding model, which is well underway and is changing the structure to how external residential care facilities assessments are undertaken;
  • A review of the regional costs of residential care facilities compared with costs of residential care facilities located in city centres;
  • Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) incentives, which will ensure the right care is provided for clients;
  • Ongoing updates to the My Aged Care website; and
  • A reminder to members that providers are obliged to assist in finding suitable residential care facilities if care requirements change to a high-level dependency care.

Members noted the update.

Agenda Item 6. Royal Commission into Aged Care

Members discussed what the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety will mean for their individual ex-service organisations and the range of issues to consider when preparing a submission.  

Members noted the terms of reference are broad and include Veterans’ Home Care. The interim report is to be provided by 31 October 2019 and the final report no later than 30 April 2020.

Members noted the issues raised in the discussion and supported ongoing updates being provided as required.

Item Action Assigned to
90 Clarify whether or not Veterans’ Home Care is income tested, compared with Level 1 and Level 2 myagedcare home care packages. DVA
91 Members to be updated as required, on the progress of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, including discussions at interdepartmental committee meetings.     DVA

Agenda Item 7. Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying

Health updated members on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2017, which provides for and regulates access to voluntary assisted dying. From 19 June 2019, Victorians at the end of life who are suffering and who meet strict eligibility criteria will be able to request access to voluntary assisted dying.

Members noted the update.

Item Action Assigned to
92 Members to be updated on the Victorian Voluntary Assisted Dying Implementation Taskforce at the March 2019 meeting. Health

Agenda Item 8. Barriers to uptake of palliative care for under-served populations

Australian Healthcare Associates has been engaged by Health to explore the barriers that some people experience in accessing palliative care.  The project focusses on nine groups of people who are under-served or have complex needs, of which veterans are one.

The findings to date identify consumer and service barriers specific to veterans. The consumer or veteran barriers include: a distrust of the system; prevalence of mental health issues and complex needs; homelessness; social isolation and lack of family support; and lack of awareness of services and how to access them. The service barriers include: complexity of palliative care service systems and funding / eligibility criteria; lack of GP availability to provide referrals; and insufficient palliative care and mental health specialists.

The findings have also identified enablers specific to veterans. From the consumer perspective, the enablers for veterans accessing care include creating community support networks and developing links between veteran populations, mental health practitioners and palliative care services. From a service perspective the enablers include: improved / streamlined coordination of care; increased training for GPs to enhance referral rates; increased availability of specialist services; and increased funding / expanded eligibility (including for home and community based palliative care services.

The project will run until 30 June 2020 and will result in the preparation of a series of issues papers presenting the evidence and outcomes of the research.

Members noted the update.

Agenda Item 9. Presentation: Access to residential care

(RSL Care South Australia provided an overview of the benefits of veterans gaining access to suitable residential care through the Andrew Russell Veteran Living facility. This facility is designed for contemporary veterans who require transit accommodation, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Members noted the support services available to at-risk veterans.

Agenda Item 10. Diabetes memberships

Members were advised that diabetes is identified as one of the nine national health priority areas agreed by the Australian Health Ministers in September 2017.  To provide support and improve health outcomes, DVA will be paying the fees on behalf of eligible DVA clients for membership to their state or territory diabetes association. DVA will make this payment on behalf of eligible DVA clients for the next four financial years, commencing on 1 July 2018.

DVA is finalising these payment processes with the state and territory diabetes associations.  Any eligible DVA client that has already paid their membership for this financial year will be reimbursed by DVA for this payment.  DVA is also working with the state and territory diabetes associations to develop a veteran-specific booklet and an online portal to provide easy access to information to help DVA clients self-manage their diabetes.

Members noted the update.

Item Action Assigned to
93 DVA to confirm who pays for the blood glucose test strips.. DVA
94 DVA to provide members with the electronic links to the online veteran-specific booklet and online portal. DVA
95 Members to be provided with the list of nine national health priority areas. DVA

Agenda Item 11. Other Business


Meeting close

The Chair thanked members for their collaboration and contribution to the meetings throughout the year. The meeting closed at 3.10pm.

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 5 March 2019.



Average: 5 (1 vote)