Changes to support mental and physical health of aged care residents

DVA clients are set to benefit from the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Safety and Quality’s recommendations on the COVID-19 pandemic.

23 December 2020

This has led to the creation of new Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items. The items will provide increased allied health services, including mental health services, to people in residential aged care facilities during the pandemic.

Our clients who have been assessed as requiring a higher level of care as a resident in an aged care facility will particularly benefit, as they do not typically have access to allied health services under usual DVA arrangements.

From 10 December 2020 to 30 June 2022, aged care residents, including our clients, will have access to as many as 20 mental health services a year from either general practitioners (GP) or allied mental health providers. This is in line with the MBS Better Access program.

Aged care residents, including our clients, will also be able to access up to 10 allied health services per calendar year under MBS chronic disease management arrangements.

If ‘high care’ aged care residents need more than 20 mental health services or 10 allied health services in a calendar year, these will be considered under DVA’s prior approval arrangements. ‘Low care’ aged care residents can continue to access allied health services as they currently do, under DVA card arrangements.

To access the new services, DVA clients must be referred by their GP (or psychiatrist for mental health services) and meet the eligibility criteria.

Clients are encouraged to speak to their GP if they would like to access these additional supports. For more information about this initiative, visit the Aged Care Covid Response webpage.