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CVC Mental Health Pilot — Information for Providers

The Coordinated Veterans' Care (CVC) Mental Health Pilot (the pilot) is one of two suicide prevention pilots, along with the Mental Health Clinical Management Pilot, announced as part of the 2017 Budget.

The aim of the pilots is to support veterans through improving mental health services. The CVC Mental Health Pilot is specifically targeting veterans in rural and remote regions where mental health services may be harder to access or unavailable.

The pilot is a voluntary program which will run until December 2019 and engage up to 250 eligible veterans. The pilot is an early intervention measure to promote better mental health outcomes for veterans, sits underneath the CVC Program and is an additional service to the routine care provided through the CVC Program.

When taking part in the pilot, veterans will complete exercises and scenarios based on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) principles, using a mental health app on their smart phone or device.

The pilot is a short-term intervention, taking the veteran an average of six-to-eight weeks to complete. On completion, the veteran will continue with their routine CVC care, hopefully with noticeable improvements in their mental health and their ability to self-manage their health and wellbeing.

Self-help application

The pilot's short self-help program or application (app) has been developed by Clevertar Digital Coaches. Along with CBT exercises, veterans will also be asked to do regular mental health assessments including K10, Pain Score questionnaire (DVPRS), Anger Score questionnaire (DAR-5) and the Pain Catastrophising Scale.

Tunstall Healthcare Services will provide technical and clinical coordination (9am– 5pm, Monday to Friday). Their Mental Health Nurse and Registered Nurses will monitor and triage the data from the app and, if any issues are identified, agreed escalation protocols will trigger appropriate intervention messages and actions.

Veteran eligibility

The pilot is particularly focussed on veterans who are under 55 years of age. Veterans will need to meet the CVC Program eligibility requirements as well as be diagnosed with the following additional requirements, specific to the pilot:

  • a mild-to-moderate form of anxiety disorder, or
  • a mild-to-moderate form of depressive disorder, and
  • a chronic physical condition, accompanied by pain.

To be eligible to participate in the pilot, a K10 assessment should be completed with the veteran and return a score between 20 and 29.

These criteria were developed to ensure that participants have the best chance of success and to provide a standard against which to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot.

Exclusions

  • Veterans with K10 score under 20 or above 29
  • Veterans participating in other mental health research projects
  • Veterans with alcohol or drug-use disorders
  • Veterans who have been hospitalised with an acute episode for a mental health condition in the last 12 months

Enrol your veteran

The pilot is initially being rolled out to select rural and remote regions. To see if you are in a region where the pilot is being trialled see the Regions and rollout schedule.

Enrolment in the pilot will involve a discussion between the veteran and the GP to determine if the pilot is an appropriate option for the veteran, noting that they must also meet the enrolment criteria.

If the veteran is already on the CVC Program, a review of their care plan will need to be undertaken to include the mental health component. If the veteran is new to the CVC Program, then a CVC care plan will need to be developed. (See CVC Program and/or payment schedule.)

GPs will be able to access payments based on the CVC Program payment arrangements. For new CVC Program clients, GPs will be able to access the CVC initial incentive payment. For ongoing CVC clients the GP may continue to claim quarterly care payments while clients are enrolled on the CVC Program.

Information packs will be provided to the general practices in the trial regions. These packs will include:

  • general information for the practice
  • information for the practice nurse to complete with the veteran
  • take-home information for the veteran.

The practice nurse should take the veteran through the information, including the consent forms, which the veteran will need to sign in order to participate.

All information collected will be stored securely on Australian services and Tunstall will relay any relevant clinical information collected during the pilot to the general practice.

Regions and rollout schedule

The pilot will roll out to Primary Health Network (PHN) areas on a staged schedule. The schedule has been designed to reach target numbers and to provide a good demographic base for the evaluation while allowing for feedback to be incorporated as the pilot progresses.

Veterans in each PHN may have access to the pilot either immediately or with a deferred start (from their enrolment date) of two, four or six months. This deferral is to enable the evaluators to determine if the effectiveness of the program is affected by postponing access.

2018

  • Central Queensland, Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast — currently being rolled out. Eligible veterans in this region will have immediate access to the pilot.
  • To be advised (TBA)

2019

Six PHN regions have been identified for the potential rollout of the pilot in 2019. Rollout to these areas will be dependent on participant numbers. These areas include regions in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.

Veteran-centric care

At DVA the veteran is at the centre of everything we do. The pilot centres on empowering veterans by providing them with the skills and tools to self-manage their mental and physical health and wellbeing.

Tunstall's Mental Health Nurse and registered nurses will monitor veterans from the very beginning, starting from the initial welcome call.

Once they receive the completed packs from the GPs, Tunstall will contact the veteran and welcome them to the pilot and assist with downloading the app. If the person does not have a smart device, Tunstall will provide one for the duration of the pilot.

It is understandable that people's conditions can change over time. Tunstall will provide the veteran with contact details to seek further assistance if their condition deteriorates and will ask them to make a GP appointment.

Tunstall will also maintain contact with the GP and notify them:

  • to confirm the veteran's enrolment and confirm their start date
  • provide updates if an escalation is triggered
  • provide a summary upon completion of the pilot.

If a participant's mental health condition declines significantly, and you have concerns about their continued participation in the pilot, then you can recommend to the participant that they withdraw from the pilot. This information would then be fed back to Tunstall.

The general practice or the veteran can also withdraw from the pilot at any time notifying Tunstall by email.

Upcoming events (coming soon)

As part of the rollout of the pilot DVA and Tunstall will be attending events in the PHN regions to promote and provide information on the CVC Program and the Mental Health Pilot.

Contact us

To speak with someone about the CVC Mental Health Pilot contact Tunstall on 1800 424 514.

To speak with someone about the CVC Program phone 1800 550 457 and ask to speak to Health Programmes (Community Nursing and Coordinated Veterans' Care [CVC]).

 

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