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Changes to veteran health care payment arrangements

Health care subsidy arrangements for defence force veterans injured or who suffered diseases in the course of their service before mid-2004 are being changed.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) has announced that veterans currently eligible for benefits under the terms of the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (SRCA) will no longer have to seek reimbursement from the Department for care costs.

Instead, SRCA clients will be subject to normal DVA treatment card arrangements, including the use of the DVA benefits schedule.

The DVA’s Principal Medical Adviser Dr Graeme Killer admitted that the change would in some cases result in lower payments to providers.

But Dr Killer said both providers and their patients would benefit from a smoother, faster, and more convenient and consistent payments process.

“Currently, payment for the treatment of SRCA clients is processed through reimbursement arrangements, with an administrative burden for both clients and providers,” he said. “This involves seeking prior approval from the DVA for most services, before sending invoices in to either be paid to the treating provider, or as a reimbursement to clients for payments they have made.”

Dr Killer said bringing the assessment and processing of payments for SRCA patients in line with those of the broader veteran community would benefit all.

“It is understood that in some situations the use of the DVA schedule will result in a lesser payment to providers,” he said. “However, using the card will benefit providers, as there will be greater consistency across procedures when dealing with [the] DVA, faster turnaround in payment for services, and reduction in administrative burden on practices.”