Updated Telehealth Arrangements for Mental Health Providers
From 1 November 2022, Veteran Card holders can access fully funded allied mental health services by video telehealth, without the need for initial consultations to be held in person. This change means that eligible patients can receive ongoing mental health treatment remotely, and helps strengthen access to services for veterans across Australia, including those living in regional and remote areas.
Initial consultations via telehealth can only be delivered where the patient and provider have visibility of each other, using video conferencing technology. Initial telehealth consultations cannot be delivered by telephone. This change applies to general psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental health social workers and mental health occupational therapists.
The previous requirement for an initial allied health consultation to be delivered in person aligned with earlier clinical recommendations that telehealth services should complement, rather than replace, in-person care. Over the last few years there has been considerable uptake of telehealth among mental health providers, with some transitioning to delivering services exclusively by telehealth under temporary COVID-19 arrangements. This strong uptake has led to improvements in technology and clinical guidance available to support providers, and has facilitated emerging research which supports the efficacy of telehealth services for a range of mental health treatments.
DVA encourages providers to deliver telehealth in accordance with clinical guidelines and to ensure that Veteran Card holders are fully informed of any treatment limitations, including circumstances where the provider is unable to accommodate in person consultations if requested by the patient.
For more information on telehealth arrangements visit our website.