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Rehab@DVA - Volume 2, Number 4 - August 2016

A word version of this provider newsletter is available: Volume 2 - No. 4 - August 2016 (DOCX 913 KB)

Greater Access to Mental Health Care

All past, present and future members of the permanent Australian Defence Force (ADF) now have access to DVA treatment for certain mental health conditions, without having to demonstrate that their conditions are related to their service.The 2016-17 Budget included $37.9 million to extend eligibility for, and improve access to, Non Liability Health Care (NLHC) treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, alcohol use disorder and substance use disorder.

Treatment of certain health conditions whatever the cause - Are you eligible? Non-Liability Health CareNLHC treatment for mental health conditions has long been available to some former ADF members, but eligibility was previously dependent on when and how long they served, or the nature of their service.  This extension of eligibility means that anyone who has ever served in the permanent ADF, including many victims of abuse, will now be eligible for treatment for these mental health conditions.

NLHC treatment is accessed through a DVA Health Card – For Specific Conditions (White Card) and may include services provided by a general practitioner, medical specialist psychologist, social worker, occupational therapist, psychiatrist, hospital services, specialist PTSD program, and pharmaceuticals.  The White Card also confers eligibility to access counselling services through the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service – VVCS.

The new arrangements also make NLHC treatment easier to access, as requests may now be emailed or, in some cases, phoned through to DVA.

DVA will still need to confirm a person’s proof of identity and service, however, a diagnosis of one of the five mental health conditions will no longer be required before treatment can be approved.  Instead, a formal diagnosis can be provided within six months of approval, allowing time for a thorough assessment and diagnosis process, and to allow treatment to commence. Once a diagnosis is received, treatment approval is permanent.

How can you help your clients access NLHC?

If you have a DVA client who presents with mental health symptoms, and they don’t already have treatment coverage for such conditions through DVA, please encourage them to make contact to explore their eligibility for NLHC.

If a NLHC condition is suspected, DVA can issue a White Card for an initial period of six months.

To find out more

The NLHC Factsheet (HSV-109) is available on DVA’s website.

If you or your patients have any questions, please contact the NLHC team via email at NLHC@dva.gov.au or through the toll-free general inquiries number 133 254 or 1800 555 254 (for regional callers).

Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) 12 Months On

GAS Scale - Most unfavourable: -2, less than expected: -1, expected: 0, more than expected: +1, most favourable: +2Twelve months ago DVA adopted GAS for all veterans as a method of developing rehabilitation goals across domains such as medical, psychosocial and vocational rehabilitation. It also introduced a Life Satisfaction Questionnaire to measure changes in quality of life over the life of the program. GAS further complements DVA’s whole-of-person approach to rehabilitation, focussing on all elements of a veteran’s lifestyle, seeking to improve their wellbeing and for them to adapt to, and recover from, an injury or illness related to their ADF service.

DVA is currently in the early stages of analysing data since implementation. This analysis will allow DVA to identify areas for improvement, as well as provide detailed reporting about client rehabilitation progress.

Please note that there have been some changes and amendments in GAS Chapter 15 in CLIK’s Rehabilitation Policy Library, following feedback at our information session. Some of these updates include:

  • clarification has been provided on what a ‘goal’ is vs an ‘activity’;
  • a definition for ‘goals’ has been included at this word throughout Chapter 15; and
  • the inclusion of information on whether or not more than four goals can be used for DVA rehabilitation clients.

Also, due to the number of changes noted above and ongoing queries from rehabilitation providers, the Q&A document for GAS currently published on the DVA website has also been updated.

ARPA Presentation

Earlier this month DVA had the privilege of presenting a seminar on GAS at the 7th National ARPA (Australian Rehabilitation Providers Association) Conference which was held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. This presentation provided information on DVA’s approach to rehabilitation, its unique client base as well as a quick overview of Goal Attainment Scaling and why it is having such a positive impact on our clients.  

If you know of any staff that wish to be added to our mailing list or would like any further information on GAS, then please contact us at Rehab@DVA.

Responsibilities of Rehabilitation Providers vs DVA Rehabilitation Coordinators

The roles and responsibilities of the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator and the Rehabilitation Provider must be clearly maintained during the rehabilitation process. It is expected that an open two communication channel is established between both the Rehabilitation Provider and Rehabilitation Coordinator in order to deliberate any issues that may arise during the rehabilitation process in order to achieve the best outcome for the client. This is particularly important where there are concerns that a client may not be fully participating in their rehabilitation program.

Soldier talking to a doctor about optionsA client who refuses to sign a rehabilitation plan is not considered to be non-compliant with their rehabilitation program merely because they have refused to sign their rehabilitation program. Good communication is the key to resolving any issues that are causing concern about the client’s willingness to meet their rehabilitation obligations. This includes situations where a client refuses to sign their rehabilitation plan, because they do not agree with the focus or direction of the plan. All policy explanations and decisions need to be provided by the DVA Rehabilitation Coordinator. 

Rehabilitation providers must not be asked to inform clients of any concerns that a Rehabilitation Coordinator may have, or to communicate any decisions that the Rehabilitation Coordinator or another DVA delegate has made. This is particularly important where there are concerns that a client may not be fully participating in their rehabilitation program, or where consideration is being given to deeming a client with an ability to earn. It is the responsibility of the Rehabilitation Coordinator to discuss all issues of non-compliance with the client. Rehabilitation providers must not be involved in communicating with clients about any part of the suspension process. Likewise, a rehabilitation provider should not be involved in informing a client that they have been deemed with an ability to earn.

Information on the roles and responsibilities of Rehabilitation Coordinators and rehabilitation providers can be found in section 13.1 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library in CLIK. Information on non-compliance in the rehabilitation process can be found in section 13.3 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library. Information about managing the deeming process can be found in section 2.7.6 of the Rehabilitation Policy Library.

College for Law, Education and Training

College for Law, Education and TrainingA challenge that many veterans face when transitioning out of the ADF is how they can transfer the skills they have learnt in service and apply those skills to civilian employment. Many veterans are equipped with a wide variety of advanced skills in areas such as security, work health and safety, management and a variety of discplines throughout their career in service.

A veteran has recently provided positive comments about the College for Law, Education and Training, which offers assistance to veterans with the Recognition of Prior Learning which aims to allow individuals to move between employment sectors with qualifications that are recognised and ensures ongoing competitiveness in the marketplace between all age groups. While DVA is unable to promote specific organisations, Rehabilitation Providers may consider contacting the College of Law, Education and Training if they identify clients who they believe are suitable for this program.

Further information or advice on programs can be found via the College for Law, Education and Training website.

Quick links

If you have a client who is making the change from the military life to civilian life, then please direct them to the Current or transitioning ADF member page.

If you have a topic that you would like to hear more about, then please let us know by emailing us at Rehab@DVA.

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