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Friday, 24 May 2019

Conditional Extension to VITA Professional Indemnity Insurance


The Veterans’ Indemnity and Training Association (VITA), which provides access to professional indemnity insurance for organisations that support the ex-service community with advice and advocacy distributed an email advice to its members on Tuesday 14 May 2019 outlining a conditional extension to VITA professional indemnity insurance for Level 1 and Level 2 advocates, and is provided below for your information.

The ATDP Program Support Team are available to assist ESOs and advocates with the nomination and enrolment process to access the extension of insurance cover for TIP Trained Level 1 and 2 advocates yet to transition to the ATDP.

If you require assistance please contact the ATDP Program Support team using the contact details on the ATDP website at www.atdp.org.au

Dear VITA Member,
Conditional Extension to VITA Professional Indemnity Insurance Cut-off Date for L1 and L2 Advocates
VITA has previously advised members that those TIP trained Level 1 and 2 advocates who have not transitioned to ATDP cannot be provided with Professional Indemnity (PI) insurance cover beyond 30 June this year (2019). This is because VITA cannot be certain that these advocates have kept up with legislative and/or operational changes because, with TIP’s cessation, refresher training has not been available. Refresher training (or Continuing Professional Development) is an obligation on all VITA insured TIP-trained (or ATDP accredited) advocates and an expectation of our insurer.
However, there are some TIP trained Level 1 and 2 advocates who are going to transition to ATDP and who are enrolled but have still to complete their Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process; or who have agreed to be nominated by their ESO to do so. VITA has arranged for these advocates to continue to be insured because their RPL assessments will ensure they demonstrate current knowledge of legislative and operational changes since their last refresher training under TIP and the relevant level of competency. 
To ensure that only those genuinely seeking ATDP accreditation and who are undertaking the requisite RPL processes, VITA will only continue to insure L1 and L2 advocates who have been nominated by their ESO by 30 June 2019 to undertake RPL training.  Those so nominated will have until 30 June 2020 to achieve their qualification, beyond which VITA cannot offer insurance cover without an ATDP qualification.       
To access the extension of PI cover for TIP Trained Level 1 & 2 advocates yet to transition to the ATDP, ESOs must nominate the individual advocate and that advocate must fully enrol in the ATDP On-Line Management System such that they are ready to accept an RPL offer. Please be aware that should an advocate be subject to litigation, the advocate will need to authorise the ATDP to release details of their enrolment date to VITA before we can provide cover.
If a TIP trained Level 1 or 2 advocate fails to enrol for RPL before 30 June 2019 they will NOT have VITA cover until such time as they are issued with a Statement of Attainment.
To meet the requirements for continuation of VITA’s professional indemnity insurance, the authorising ESO will need to nominate each TIP-trained Level 1 or 2 advocate seeking accreditation by RPL through ATDP’s on-line nomination tool (not by email or phone), and the trainee advocate must correctly complete their enrolment form before 30 June 2019. The on-line nomination tool for the ESO to use can be accessed at www.atdp.org.au/enrolments/nomination/nomination.php  If assistance is required by ESOs or advocates they can contact an ATDP Program Support Officer whose contact details can be found at www.atdp.org.au/contact/contactForm.php
In summary:
1. VITA cannot provide insurance cover beyond 30 June 2019 for Level 1 and 2 TIP trained advocates who are not transitioning to ATDP.
2. VITA will provide insurance cover for Level 1 and 2 TIP trained advocates who are either: 
a) currently in the process of obtaining their ATDP accreditation through the RPL process, or
b) nominated by their ESO to transition to an ATDP qualification and be fully enrolled in the On-Line Management System, both before 30 June 2019.
3. Advocates in either a) or b) categories of item 2. above will not be insured beyond 30 June 2020 unless they have completed their RPL process and have been awarded their 10620NAT Certificate of Competency.
VITA believes that this extension of cover for those genuinely wishing to convert to the ATDP meets the needs of our constituency (clients, advocates, their ESOs and ATDP) without compromising our insurable risk profile. We encourage all eligible advocates to take advantage of this cover continuation, to the benefit of advocacy clients everywhere.
For all VITA member ESOs, this extra time also allows them to consider what future arrangements they may wish to put in place regarding transitioning TIP trained volunteers, that do not RPL, into advocacy support roles (which do not require professional indemnity insurance) and to develop strategies to attract suitable candidates to fill advocacy roles that they expect to need in the future.
Yours aye,
Dennis Mitchell
President
Veterans’ Indemnity and Training Association Inc.
GPO Box 2272, Canberra City ACT 2601
0419 624 773





Liz Cosson Twitter message



Thursday, 23 May 2019

DVA - Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum


Are you a female veteran?
If so, DVA would like to hear from you. They are looking for people from our veteran community to be involved in the next Female Veterans and Veterans’ Families Policy Forum in August.

To be part of the forum and share your insights, send your expression of interest to consultation@dva.gov.au by 31 May 2019


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Open Arms - Group Programs



Open Arms is running FREE Understanding Anxiety education and skills based group program.

To find dates, locations and more information, or to register,
call 1800 011 046 or visit bit.ly/OAAnxiety1

All current and former ADF personnel, as well as anyone in their immediate families, are able to attend this program. We will be releasing a schedule of Group Programs for the second half of the year soon and you can express interest in a future program by following the above link.


Monday, 20 May 2019

Veterans' Health Week 2019




Veterans' Health Week 201926 October to 3 November — Mental Wellness


This year Veterans' Health Week (VHW) will be held from Saturday 26 October
to Sunday 3 November and the theme will be mental wellness.

DVA will support ex-service organisations (ESOs) and community organisations with established links to the veteran community to deliver a range of events to highlight the importance of improving and maintaining good mental health.
Mental wellness is essential for an individual's overall health and wellbeing which, in turn, strongly influences our physical health and social connectedness with family, friends and community.

ESOs and community organisations can apply for VHW funding or to register an event — refer to the VHW funding and registration guidelines for more information.

The closing date for applications is Friday 12 July 2019


Friday, 17 May 2019

Statements of Principles Update

At the meeting of 9 April 2019 the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
rapidly progressive crescentic glomerulonephritis45/201946/2019
posterior adventitial heel bursitis47/201948/2019
poisoning from plants or fungi49/201950/2019
rheumatic heart disease51/201952/2019
acute rheumatic fever53/201954/2019
dislocation of a joint and subluxation of a joint55/201956/2019
joint instability57/201958/2019
gout59/201960/2019
Note: The investigation concerning 'heel bursitis' has resulted in the determination of Statements of Principles concerning posterior adventitial heel bursitis.
The investigation concerning 'poisoning and toxic reaction from plants and fungi' has resulted in the determination of Statements of Principles concerning poisoning from plants or fungi.
The investigation concerning 'dislocation' has resulted in the determination of Statements of Principles concerning dislocation of a joint and subluxation of a joint.
The above SOPs take effect from 27 May 2019.

Summary of Changes

Decided to Undertake Consultation regarding:

ConditionReasons for DecisionDate for Final Decision
anal fissureIntention to remove one or more factorsAugust 2019
obstructive and reflux nephropathyIntention to remove one or more factorsAugust 2019
The above investigation notices appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 7 May 2019.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Open Arms - Recovery From Trauma Group Programs


Open Arms is running FREE Recovery from Trauma education and skills based group program.

To find dates, locations and more information, or to register, call 1800 011 046 or visit bit.ly/OATrauma1

All current and former ADF personnel, as well as anyone in their immediate families, are able to attend this program. 

A schedule of Group Programs for the second half of the year soon and you can express interest in a future program by following the above link.



Friday, 10 May 2019

Media Release- ASSISTANCE DOGS TO BOOST VETERANS MENTAL HEALTH

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC

MEDIA RELEASE
07 May 2019
ASSISTANCE DOGS TO BOOST VETERANS MENTAL HEALTH

Australian Defence Force veterans will have access to highly trained assistance dogs, funded by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, following a decision by the Federal Government.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said contracts were being finalised with several approved dog training organisations which would boost mental health support for hundreds of veterans suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“As a government, we are determined to put veterans and their families first and we have invested significantly in mental health programs and provided free mental health care to all veterans,” Mr Chester said.

“For the first time, we have decided to provide ongoing financial support for the purchase of assistance dogs to support veterans upon recommendation of a medical specialist.

“This is an initiative which veterans have raised with me during several Roundtable discussions across Australia and I’m confident it will deliver long-term mental health benefits.

“I’ve met many veterans over the past 12 months who’ve told me their dog has helped fo save their life. Now the government will take some of the financial pressure off individuals along with voluntary and ex-service organisations which have previously funded assistance dogs from their own fundraising efforts.”

Mr Chester said DVA was finalising contract negotiations with accredited assistance dog training organisations and he expected eligible veterans would be matched with dogs in the coming months.

“This decision demonstrates we are determined to work with veterans and their families with a focus on the overall wellbeing of the individual and use more innovative approaches to issues like mental health,” Mr Chester said.

“The veteran community has been purchasing dogs for several years and the support from the Federal Government will extend the benefits to more veterans.”

The decision to fund assistance dogs for veterans on the advice of medical specialists, comes on top
of a trial being undertaken by LaTrobe University, with Federal Government support.

Mr Chester said the $2 million trial would continue and would inform future policy decisions by the
Federal Government.

“We will have up to 20 participants in that trial and it will take into account the specific needs of the
participating veteran, including the most appropriate breed and temperament of dog, and the
bonding process between the dog and participant,” Mr Chester said.

“It will help to provide the additional science and research basis for further work with assistance
dogs in the veteran community.”


Thursday, 9 May 2019

Lifeline




Lifeline has launched Australia’s first Twitter Bot that provides information for individuals supporting others who may be experiencing thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
Help is available. #BeALifeline

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Autumn edition of Vetaffairs now available


The Autumn edition of Vetaffairs is out now on the DVA website.
Check out the articles and stories and download your copy today: bit.ly/VetaffairsAutumn2019

Highlights include:

  • winners of the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards
  • Details of the new Australian Veterans’ Recognition Bill 2019 and an update on the Veterans’ Recognition Package
  • the launch of the Council for Women and Families United by Defence Service
  • the launch of a dedicated Families section of the At Ease website and the appointment of Ms Gwen Cherne to the Council of the Australian War Memorial
  • In her regular column, DVA Secretary Liz Cosson AM CSC discusses the recent Productivity Commission report, DVA’s online platform MyService, Anzac Day commemorations, DVA’s Transformation journey and the Department’s plans for 2019
  • Open Arms group programs



Friday, 5 April 2019

Media Release: New research provides deeper look at serving and ex-serving community

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
Thursday 4 April 2019

New research provides deeper look at serving and ex-serving community

THREE major reports from the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme were today released, providing the Departments of Defence and Veterans’ Affairs (DVA), and the broader health community, a better understanding of the health concerns of current and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the Centre for Traumatic Stress Studies at the University of Adelaide has led the research programme, which investigates the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of serving and ex-serving ADF members and their families.
“The reports, Technology Use and WellbeingMental Health Changes Over Time: a Longitudinal Perspective and Impact of Combat, each explored important aspects of serving and ex-serving members lives,” Mr Chester said.
“Overall, the reports confirmed that most ADF members and their families are healthy and manage transition from the military to civilian life well, but some find transition challenging.
“The reports tell us that 84 per cent of transitioned ADF personnel were engaged in some purposeful activity, with 62.8 per cent in civilian employment — which includes 5.5 per cent who had retired. And we know that only 5.2 per cent of the almost 25,000 individuals who left the ADF between 2010 and 2014 were unemployed.”
Mr Chester said the research also confirmed that more needs to be done to assist veterans and their families during the critical transition period to civilian life.
“The Government has invested in veterans and their families over successive Budgets, and as announced on Tuesday night, we have committed to a range of measures in the 2019-20 Budget,” Mr Chester said.
“This includes an additional $16.2 million in the 2019–20 Budget to support grants to not-for-profit organisations to deliver innovative programs to support veterans gain meaningful employment and $4.0 million to provide training to volunteers who work with veterans on mental health support and intervention.
“The Government is committed to putting veterans and their families first and will spend $11.5 billion this year to deliver the essential services and support they rely on.
“Importantly, since this data has been collected, the Government has funded the transformation and improvement of DVA, and increased support for mental health, transition and employment for current and former ADF members, veterans and their families.
“Defence and DVA will use the research to further develop targeted programs initiatives that benefit current and former ADF members, veterans and their families, as well as determine future research priorities.”
The $6 million Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme is jointly funded by Defence and DVA and is the most comprehensive study undertaken in Australia on the impact of military service on the mental, physical and social health of transitioned and current serving ADF members and their families.
Seven of the eight reports have now been released and are available on the DVA and the Defence websites, along with further information on the Transition and Wellbeing Research Programme. The Government will release the final report, a summary of the previous seven reports, in the near future.

About the reports:

The Technology Use and Wellbeing report is one of the first studies world-wide to investigate the use of the internet and new and emerging programs and technologies that support the wellbeing and mental health of serving and ex-serving military members.
It found that potential exists for the use of evidence-based new and emerging technologies that would help serving and ex-serving ADF members’ self-manage their wellbeing and mental health.
The Mental Health Changes Over Time: a Longitudinal Perspective report examines the shifts in mental health status over a five-year period (2010–2014) in ADF members who have transitioned out of full–time military service compared with ADF members who remain in military service.
Similar to other international military and veteran studies, the results from this report show that most people are in good mental health following discharge from active military service with some, particularly those who remain within the ADF, maintaining good health.
The Impact of Combat report examined the changes over time in the mental, physical and neurocognitive health and wellbeing of the of participants from the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO) Prospective Health Study, who deployed to the MEAO between 2010 and 2012.
This report found that veterans generally experienced poorer mental health compared with those who remained within the ADF.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Stepping Out Attention Reset (SOAR) trial


Open Arms is running the Stepping Out Attention Reset (SOAR) trial nationally.

Participants will be asked to complete a computer-based training program focused on re-balancing attention to threat cues. Each participant will complete a 7 minute training session once a week for four weeks, and then complete an online questionnaire. The trial the complements an existing Stepping Out program that assists ADF personnel to transition from military to civilian life.

To sign up to take part in the trial, visit the SOAR trial website www.soar.phoenixaustralia.org.au, phone 1800 945 089 or email soar-trial@unimelb.edu.au

You can view more information about the training here:
http://minister.dva.gov.au/media_releases/2019/apr/va037.htm


Thursday, 21 March 2019

Media Release- Veteran pensions set to increase

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
20 March 2019

Veteran pensions set to increase

Pension payments for veterans, their partners, war widows and widowers are set to increase from 20 March 2019.
The first pension paid after payday 28 March 2019 will comprise a component of both the old and new rates. The new pension rates will be fully effective from pension payday 11 April 2019.
The table below highlights the new fortnightly rates.
Service PensionOld rate (fortnightly)New rate
(fortnightly)
Increase
(fortnightly)
Single person $916.30 $926.20 $9.90
Couples (each) $690.70 $698.10 $7.40
Single person — transitional $768.00 $775.50 $7.50
Couples (each) — transitional $619.60 $625.70 $6.10
War Widows
War widow(er)'s pension $931.50 $941.60 $10.10
Income support supplement $275.40 $278.50 $3.10
Disability Pension
Total and Permanent Incapacity (Special rate) $1,408.00 $1,423.40 $15.40
Intermediate rate $956.00 $966.50 $10.50
Extreme Disablement Adjustment $777.90 $786.50 $8.60
100 per cent $500.60 $506.10 $5.50
10 per cent $56.99 $57.54 $0.55
Veteran Payment Rates
Single person$991.00$1,001.90$10.90
Couples (each)$771.90$780.40$8.50
These are the maximum rates of payment and include any Energy Supplement payable.
Pensions are indexed twice a year in March and September. For a full list of pension rates, please visit the CLIK website or call 133 254 or 1800 555 254 from regional Australia.

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Media Release- Next Repatriation Commissioner

The Hon Darren Chester MP
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Defence Personnel
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC
19 March 2019

Senior Australian soldier next Repatriation Commissioner

For the first time, a former Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army has been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner with outgoing Commissioner Major General Mark Kelly AO, DSC completing his appointment on 30 June this year.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Darren Chester today announced Mr Don Spinks AM, who recently retired from the Australian Defence Force with almost 40 years' experience, had been appointed as the new Repatriation Commissioner and as a Member of the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission for a period of five years from 1 July 2019.
"Mr Spinks is highly qualified and well-respected, has an impressive military career serving on multiple overseas deployments and has capably represented the concerns and views of soldiers to the Chief of Army and senior leadership over a lengthy period," Mr Chester said.
"As Commissioner, Mr Spinks will be able to use his recent service experience to assist in addressing contemporary issues faced by veterans and their families, I congratulate Mr Spinks on his appointment."
Prior to taking up his full duties on 1 July, Mr Spinks has been appointed a Commissioner on the Repatriation Commission and will receive a comprehensive handover from Major General Kelly who has served on the Commission since 2010.
Mr Chester thanked Major General Kelly for his contribution and invaluable service to the Repatriation Commission and the Military Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission since 1 July 2010.
"The work of the Commissions is pivotal in the development of effective policy and programs, and the efficient delivery of services for veterans and their families," Mr Chester said.
"In his almost 10 years, Major General Kelly has achieved a great deal in support of veterans and their families, most recently in advancing Open Arms — Veterans and Families Counselling, a service that is vitally important to the ex-service community by providing early intervention and longer term mental health treatment services.
"On behalf of the ex-service community, I thank Major General Kelly and wish him all the best for the future."
Mr Spinks served in a number of senior roles during his Army career, including 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Multi National Force and Observers — Sinai Egypt, 1st Brigade, Joint Task Force 633 on Operation Slipper and the Command Sergeant Major Forces Command — Army.
The Repatriation Commission grants pensions and benefits, and provides treatment and other services under the Veterans' Entitlements Act 1986 to veterans and members of the Australian Defence Force, their partners, widows, widowers and children. The Commission also provides advice to the Minister for Veterans' Affairs on related issues.
Further information about the Commissions and Mr Spinks can be found on the DVA Website.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Statements of Principles Updates


At the meeting of 13 February 2019 the RMA:

Determined Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
methaemoglobinaemia17/201918/2019
dental malocclusion19/201920/2019
acute articular cartilage tear21/201922/2019
sinus barotrauma23/201924/2019
acute meniscal tear of the knee25/201926/2019
pilonidal sinus27/201928/2019
blepharitis29/201930/2019
chronic pruritus ani31/201932/2019
Alzheimer disease33/201934/2019
neurocognitive disorder with Lewy bodies35/201936/2019
Note:• The investigation concerning 'Alzheimer-type dementia' has resulted in the determination of Statements of Principles concerning Alzheimer disease and Statements of Principles concerning neurocognitive disorder with Lewy bodies. 

Determined New Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
chronic insomnia disorder37/201938/2019
trigger finger39/201940/2019
de Quervain tendinopathy41/201942/2019
Note:• The investigation concerning 'stenosing tenosynovitis (in particular trigger finger/thumb and de Quervain tenosynovitis)' has resulted in the determination of Statements of Principles concerning trigger finger and Statements of Principles concerning de Quervain tendinopathy.

Determined Amendment Statements of Principles (SOPs) for:

ConditionSOPs
subdural haematoma43/201944/2019
The above SOPs take effect from 25 March 2019.

Summary of Changes

Decided to Undertake Consultation regarding:

ConditionReasons for DecisionDate for Final Decision
subarachnoid haemorrhageIntention to remove one or more factorsJune 2019
renal stone diseaseIntention to remove one or more factorsJune 2019

New Investigations

Decided to advertise the following investigations:
  • psoriasis (focussed review - stressors (Balance of Probabilities SOP only))
  • morbid obesity (focussed review - definition of morbid obesity)
The above investigation notices appear in the Government Notices Gazette of 12 March 2019.