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Monday, 22 June 2009
Page: 6838

Mrs Markus asked the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, in writing, on 12 May 2009:

(1)   Does the Government plan to change the current arrangements for Veterans’ Home Care.

(2)   Will the fees for Veterans’ Home Care be increased in 2009 or 2010.

(3)   Will Veterans’ Home Care be merged with the Home and Community Care program.

Mr Griffin (Minister for Veterans’ Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(1)   The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) commissioned the University of Wollongong in March 2007 to independently review the Veterans’ Home Care (VHC) program with the aim of identifying what changes may be necessary to ensure that the program continues to meet the needs of the veteran community. The review was finalised in March 2008 and the report is available to the public via the DVA website at Overall, the review found that the VHC program is well targeted and accepted by the veteran community but there are some opportunities for improvement. The Government is currently considering the findings of the independent review. These considerations may result in changes to the VHC program. The Government has ruled out reducing services or scrapping the VHC program. The Government has already addressed one of the key findings of the review by deciding to revise the VHC assessment instrument to improve the way veterans and war widow/widowers are assessed for VHC services. This instrument is being validated by an independent expert and is expected to be implemented in late 2009. The Government also announced an initiative in the recent Budget to improve and better coordinate the assessment processes for the HomeFront, Rehabilitation Appliances Program (RAP) and VHC programs. The aim of these programs is to help veterans and war widow/widowers maintain their independence, stay in their own homes for longer and delay entry into residential aged care. This initiative will further strengthen the assessment process for VHC services and ensure more targeted referrals from VHC to programs such as RAP and HomeFront.

(2)   DVA sets the fees paid to VHC service providers under its contractual arrangement with them to deliver VHC services to veterans and war widow/widowers. These fees are indexed annually on 1 January of each year in line with government indexation arrangements. Fees were indexed on 1 January 2009 and will be indexed again on 1 January 2010.

(3)   No.