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The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel

MEDIA RELEASE

6 December 2019

Simpler access to medical treatment for veterans

VETERANS who currently have to pay for their medical treatment upfront and wait to be reimbursed will only need to present their Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) health card to pay for their treatment under changes to the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 2004 (MRCA) passed through Parliament yesterday.

Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said around 4000 MRCA veterans and their families would benefit from the change, which is part of DVA’s transformation program to make processes faster and easier for veterans and their families to gain access to the support they need.

“Veterans with conditions covered under the MRCA will now, like other DVA clients, only have to present their DVA health card at the time of their medical treatment for accepted conditions and payments will be then made directly to health providers electronically through the Medicare system,” Mr Chester said.

“Importantly, this change ensures all veterans can gain access to medical treatment without worrying about claim forms, or being out-of-pocket while waiting for reimbursement—reducing financial pressure on veterans and their families.”

The Department of Defence’s arrangements for the delivery of health services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel now includes a provision that allows DVA to use these arrangements so veterans can access mental health services in the community.

“I have worked together with Members and Senators with a lived experience of the ADF, in particular Senator Rex Patrick, to eliminate barriers in accessing mental health care for all veterans, regardless of the Act they are covered by. I thank the Senator for his passionate interest in looking after his fellow veterans,” Mr Chester said.

“This arrangement provides more options for veterans to access mental health services, including where a veteran transitioning from the ADF requires continuity of care, or where a veteran is having difficulty accessing services due to their geographic location.”

These changes are another example of DVA and Defence working together to support veterans and their families. More information on the DVA health card is available on the DVA website.

ENDS

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Cedric Szigeti: 02 6277 7820
DVA Media: 02 6289 6466
Office of the Hon Darren Chester, Canberra ACT

Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling provides support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Free and confidential help is available 24/7. Phone 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au