The way that a General Practitioner (GP) refers DVA clients to allied health providers is set to change from July 2019 following adjustments in the 2018–19 Budget.
Currently, a GP may refer a client to allied health services for up to a year (except for dental and optical, for which no referral is required). For chronic conditions, the GP can make an ongoing referral.
Under the new DVA arrangements, which will commence on 1 July 2019, GPs will be able to make a referral to allied health services for up to 12 sessions or one year, whichever comes sooner. This new arrangement will also apply to those clients with a chronic condition. Dental and optical services still will not need a GP referral.
The new arrangements are called the ‘treatment cycle’. The treatment cycle is designed to improve quality of care for DVA cardholders, with more GP involvement in ongoing care.
At the end of the treatment cycle, the allied health provider will report back to the GP who will assess whether further treatment is required. If it is needed, the GP may refer the client for a further treatment cycle of up to 12 sessions, or may refer them to another provider if that better suits the patient’s needs, or may consider another type of treatment.
The treatment cycle will not impose any hard ‘cap’ or limit on the number of clinically required services. DVA clients will receive as many services as determined to be clinically necessary by their GP.
DVA clients attend their GP on average 11 to 12 times per year. Seeking a referral for allied health services can be done as part of any GP visit.
DVA is consulting with associations representing allied health providers and medical practitioners and ex-service organisations on the treatment cycle changes in the lead-up to the July 2019 implementation. DVA will evaluate the impact of the treatment cycle after the first year.
The referral changes will allow GPs to ensure that veterans are receiving the best possible care. This is to make sure that veterans are benefiting from their treatment, and to examine whether there may be better treatment options available.
Subject to the success of the new treatment cycle, from February 2021 DVA plans to update key parts of the allied health schedules to help meet future health needs.
DVA will plan on future updates on the treatment cycle as we draw closer to the July 2019 start date.
The development of this initiative was informed by the Review of DVA Dental and Allied Health Arrangements. The final report of the review has been published on the DVA website for your information.