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RSL NSW secures telehealth services for veterans

Veterans can continue to access exclusive telehealth services from allied health providers as a result of the RSL NSW Veteran Services and Policy Committee (VSPC) advocating for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) to maintain telehealth-only treatment cycles.

Introduced on 1 July 2022, changes to telehealth arrangements for allied health providers treating Veteran Card holders mandated that the first session of every treatment cycle must be face-to-face. The changes also mandated that extended consultations could not take place via telehealth. This was a significant deviation from the introduction of permanent telehealth arrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This change had the potential to negatively impact many veterans, including those veterans who are only comfortable receiving treatment via telehealth, rural and regional veterans who can only access Allied Health providers remotely, and veterans already in telehealth care whose treatment cycles would be interrupted or stopped. The mandated changes would have increased the already large barriers to Allied Health providers providing services for veterans.

After Veterans Psychology brought the issue to the attention of the VSPC, RSL NSW advocated for a reversal of the changes directly with the DVA. Following constructive engagement with the DVA Health Policy team, the changes were overturned for general psychologists, clinical psychologists, mental health social workers, and mental health occupational therapists.

This means that from 1 November 2022, Veteran Card holders can access fully funded allied mental health services via 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.

RSL NSW will continue to advocate to the Government and other stakeholders on issues of importance to veterans, their families, and the Defence community. If there is a policy issue you believe should be considered, please raise it through your RSL sub-Branch and District Council for consideration.

If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact support@rslnsw.org.au or 1300 679 775.

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