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DVA’s Non-Liability Health Care (mental health) arrangements for eligible veterans

February 27, 2023

Do you have a patient with a mental health condition/s who has served in the Australian Defence Force (ADF)?

Under the Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ (DVA) Non-Liability Health Care (NLHC) arrangements, DVA may cover the cost of veteran mental health treatment, even if their condition hasn’t been accepted by DVA as relating to their service.

Here’s what you need to know about NLHC (mental health) including who’s eligible, what’s covered and what you need to do.

What’s NLHC (mental health)?

To help remove barriers to treatment and support better health outcomes, DVA offers eligible veterans fully funded treatment for any mental health condition, under NLHC (mental health) arrangements.

What’s covered?

Under NLHC (mental health) arrangements DVA fully funds the cost of treatment for eligible veterans, for all mental health conditions, in accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) and Chapter 5 of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD‑10‑AM). This includes (but is not limited to):

  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • depressive disorder
  • anxiety disorder
  • alcohol use disorder
  • substance use disorder
  • phobias
  • adjustment disorders
  • bipolar disorder

Is my patient eligible?

If your patient has a Veteran White Card they may already be covered under NLHC (mental health).

You can check your patient’s eligibility by contacting DVA’s Health Provider Line on 1800 550 457 (option 3, option 1). Alternatively your patient can access details on their eligibility through their MyService Account on their device.

If your patient has served in the ADF, but doesn’t have a Veteran White Card, ask them to enquire with DVA on 1800 VETERAN (1800 838 372).

What do I need to do if my patient’s eligible?

If you’re a general practitioner (GP) you can:

  • let your veteran patient know they can access fully funded treatment for mental health conditions under NLHC (mental health);
  • refer veterans with mental health condition/s to a mental health provider who accepts the Veteran White Card (including stating the specific mental health condition requiring treatment on your referral); and
  • where it is considered beneficial, you can also refer them for additional services as an adjunct to mental health treatment such as exercise physiology, physiotherapy or nutrition advice. These additional supports are fully funded, and will generally provide short-term assistance to help the veteran develop a healthy eating plan or self-directed exercise plan.

If you’re a mental health or an allied health provider, who’s received a GP’s referral to provide services as an adjunct to your patient’s mental health treatment:

  • you should confirm with the patient that you accept the Veteran White Card as payment, before making an appointment; and
  • before arranging treatment, ask your veteran patient to confirm their White Card covers mental health treatment.

How do I seek payment?

If your patient is eligible for treatment under NLHC (mental health), you can claim for payment using DVA item numbers. When making a claim, you must state the specific mental health condition that is being treated. This has always been a requirement and it is not a new rule, however, there have been some recent improvements in confirming requirements are met before a payment is made. The specific mental health condition being treated will be listed on the referral from the veteran's GP.

Find out which DVA item numbers to use with DVA’s Fee schedules.

Note the Veteran White Card does not cover NLHC (mental health) treatment overseas.

For more information on NLHC (mental health), visit the DVA website.