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Improved Dental and Allied Health (provider information)


The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) is reforming its dental and allied health service arrangements. These reforms were informed by a review (see Review of DVA Dental and Allied Health Arrangements — Final Report).

The reforms, announced in the 2018–19 Budget, has four main elements and will be implemented in a phased approach (see Budget 2018–19 fact sheet — Improved Dental and Allied Health).

Around 140,000 DVA cardholders who access DVA dental and allied health services will benefit through improved communication between GPs and allied health service providers, access to an expanded range of services, and opportunities for enhanced complex care management.

Further information can be found at the following frequently asked questions (FAQs) document:

Reform package: four main elements

1. Technical adjustments to the fee schedules

DVA is making technical adjustments to the dental and allied health fee schedules, to upgrade them to more contemporary industry standards.

Technical adjustments to the DVA fee schedules for dentists, dental specialists and dental prosthetists, are effective from 1 November 2018. The new fee schedules align more closely to the 12th edition of The Australian Schedule of Dental Services and Glossary issued by the Australian Dental Association. The list of changes are outlined below:

Technical adjustments to other selected allied health fee schedules will be made in coming months. DVA will consult with affected provider associations before implementing any changes.


2. A new treatment cycle for allied health services

In July 2019, a new allied health referral treatment cycle will start. Under this model, the GP may refer a client for up to 12 sessions of allied health services if it’s clinically required. This new referral method will apply to all DVA allied health services, excluding dental and optical services. See Figure 1.

When the client starts the allied health treatment, the allied health provider will devise a treatment plan and then undertake treatment for up to 12 sessions. At the end of the treatment cycle, the allied health provider will report back to the GP. A client may have as many treatment cycles as are clinically required.

Involving the GP in assessing and monitoring treatment means that DVA cardholders will receive treatment that is effective and the level of clinically unnecessary services will be reduced.

The initiative will be designed in 2018–19, including consultation with allied health providers, medical associations and ex‑service organisations. DVA will evaluate the implementation of the treatment cycle in its first year of operation and report back to government in 2020.

Figure 1: Operation of the treatment cycle

See alternative text version, via link attached to this image.

3. Trials of new funding approaches

Depending on the outcomes of the treatment cycle, DVA will develop and design up to four trials of new funding approaches for allied health services. These trials will test alternative funding approaches for selected allied health provider groups to see if outcomes can be improved for clients.

For instance, many of the allied health schedules are based on the length of the consultation (time based). The trials will explore other approaches, such as a more case based approach that takes into account the type of treatment provided.

DVA will consult with provider associations before implementation of any changes.

The trials will start in 2021, subject to savings from an expected reduction in expenditure on allied health services.

4. Upgrades to allied health schedules

Depending on the outcomes of the treatment cycle, DVA plans to make further improvements to dental and allied health fee schedules to better reflect contemporary services and better support the workforce providing dental and allied health services.

Proposed changes include addressing the following:

  1. Use of new technologies.
  2. Reflecting new therapeutic techniques to address health problems.
  3. Consistency with industry standards in order to ensure that DVA fees schedules are up to date and to help reduce red tape for providers.
  4. Opportunities to make improvements for complex care management, for those at risk of suicide, those who are homeless, and those discharging from hospital.

These upgrades will start in 2021, subject to savings from an expected reduction in expenditure on allied health services.

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