Misleading advertising by third-party organisations
The Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA) continually strives to assist veterans and their families navigate DVA's services and provide critical information regarding DVA's service providers, allied health practitioners and specialists.
In order to protect the financial interests and privacy of our veteran clients, DVA has been working to identify and address misleading advertisements directed towards veterans in relation to their DVA health care entitlements.
DVA is currently addressing the advertising practices of third-party referral organisations, unrelated to DVA. These organisations market health services purportedly funded by DVA and receive a commission from service providers for any referrals they provide. These organisations are not health care providers and do not have any affiliation with, or receive payment from, DVA.
In particular, DVA is concerned with the following types of practices:
- unauthorised use of the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and DVA's entitlement card logos which may suggest an association or relationship with DVA that does not exist
- the advertisement of healthy lifestyle services, such as yoga and meditation, which are not covered by DVA and may result in out-of-pocket costs to veteran clients
- the collection of your sensitive personal information; and
- potentially misleading statements which suggest services will be covered by DVA without considering the veteran client's circumstances.
There are strict DVA guidelines relating to advertisements that all DVA allied service providers and third-party marketing organisations must comply with.
Examples of non-compliant language that marketing agents use to induce veterans to engage services (both covered and not covered by DVA) include the following representations:
- 'free to DVA clients'
- 'fully funded by DVA'
- 'complimentary services'
- 'no fees'; and
- 'DVA pays'.
Veterans should be cautious of:
- any advertisements and representations made by marketing organisations who are unaffiliated with DVA and may offer services which are not covered by DVA; and
- disclosing their personal information to any non-health care professional.
DVA remains focused on not exposing veterans to financial liability to unconscionable service providers. DVA is here to support you and encourages all veterans to access our online resources to learn more about DVA's funded health services.