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Summary of Meeting - 27 March 2018

The Chair welcomed members to the first meeting of the OWP for 2018. 

Chief Health Officer / Principal Medical Adviser Update

Members were provided with information on the Commonwealth Government’s revised timelines for cervical cancer screening following the establishment of a much more sensitive test on identifying the presence of the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Due to the improvements in screening, the frequency of the test is now every five years and continues to be covered by DVA’s treatment cards. Members were advised of a two studies being undertaken on behalf of DVA regarding the ADF, its use of firefighting chemicals and potential exposure to its members.

Productivity Commission Inquiry

Members received information regarding the processes and timeframes for the Productivity Commission Inquiry into the rehabilitation and compensation system for current serving members and veterans. At the time of the meeting, the Terms of Reference had yet to be released but were expected to be announced shortly.

Australian Defence Force (ADF) Presentations

Representatives from each of the ADF Services attended the meeting to discuss the calculation of career progression as it relates to compensation cases. Members were advised that each of the Services currently have different methods of calculating career progression and that DVA makes compensation decisions based upon the advice provided by the ADF. A joint DVA and Defence working group had been convened to identify opportunities to harmonise career calculation methodology. Members were also shown the Department of Defence’s ‘Engage’ website which provides a common access point to information on the broad range of services and support available through Government agencies and from the External Support Community.  

Dental Prosthesis Claims and Processes

Members were provided with information regarding the process for claiming dental prostheses. Following consultation with the industry, DVA has consolidated the required forms to access these procedures resulting in a significant reduction in the time taken to process such claims. The revised forms and processes have been endorsed by the Australian Dental Association and communicated across the industry and veteran community.

Transformation & Veteran Centric Reform Showcase

Members were updated on continuing improvements and enhancements to the DVA MyService web application and how it is delivering benefits for veterans and their families.

Rehabilitation

Members received an overview of the DVA Rehabilitation Program, including the eligibility criteria and assistance available to veterans. The benefits of focusing on the holistic ‘wellness’ of veterans and their families was also discussed. Members will be briefed on successful individual case studies at a future meeting.

Member Submissions

Submissions were received from the Australian Special Air Service Association, Australian Peacekeeper & Peacemaker Veterans Association, Royal Australian Regiment Association, and the Naval Association of Australia on the following topics:

Incapacity payments and the application of Statements of Principles;

  • Appeal rates
  • Fast tracking of claims involving mental health and the Military Rehabilitation Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) compared to the Veterans’ Entitlement Act 1986
  • The Special Operations Forces Pilot occurring at Holsworthy Barracks to support a seamless, end-to-end experience for transitioning ADF members
  • Acceptance of Repatriation Health Cards for the cost of treatment; and
  • MRCA in regards to the Special Rate of Disability Pension and the period of incapacity to work.

The next meeting of the OWP will be held in Canberra on Wednesday 4 July 2018.

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