All Contract Medical Advisers to DVA per Professional Category

The request was successful.

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs, I request the total number of Contract Medical Advisors contracted / Employed by DVA as at 30/09/2020. Then categories them into specialist services, IE General Practitioners, Dental Doctors, Dental Surgeons, Dental Specialist, Vascular Specialist, Optical Specialist etc etc etc. I further require information on which procedure the Department of Veteran Affairs delegates use to select a Contract Medical Adviser they seek for the appropriate medical opinion.

Yours faithfully,

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

INFORMATION.ACCESS, Department of Veterans' Affairs

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Thank you for contacting the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

 

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National Information Access Processing

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Phone: 1800 555 254

[1]www.dva.gov.au/about-us/our-business-reporting/freedom-information

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INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Parnell,

 

I refer to your request for access to documents held by the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs (Department) under the Freedom of Information Act 1982
(Cth) (FOI Act).

 

Your request was received by the Department on 30 September 2020 and was
made in the following terms:

 

“Dear Department of Veterans' Affairs, I request the total number of
Contract Medical Advisors contracted / Employed by DVA as at 30/09/2020.
Then categories them into specialist services, IE General Practitioners,
Dental Doctors, Dental Surgeons, Dental Specialist, Vascular Specialist,
Optical Specialist etc etc etc. I further require information on which
procedure the Department of Veteran Affairs delegates use to select a
Contract Medical Adviser they seek for the appropriate medical opinion.”

 

The Department has 30 days to finalise your request. The 30 day statutory
timeframe commenced the day after your request was received by the
Department.

 

Ordinarily you should expect a decision from the Department by 30 October
2020.

 

Interrupted work practices impacted by COVID-19

 

The Department is continuing to work through its FOI case load as quickly
as possible. However, the Department is and will continue to experience an
interruption in the way it will be able to manage FOI requests.

 

As you are likely to be aware, COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has been declared a
pandemic by the World Health Organisation.

 

As the Department focuses its efforts on managing the impact of COVID-19
on its critical services and employees, other non-critical services may
not be delivered within expected timeframes. It is possible that during
this time, business areas that would ordinarily have capacity to undertake
searches and assist in the processing of FOI requests may not be readily
available to provide that assistance. This may have an impact on the
manner and timeframe in which the Department can process FOI requests.

 

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your patience during
this period.

 

Request for an extension of time

 

To help ensure the Department can manage its FOI functions during this
time, we will require additional time to process your FOI request.

 

The Department seeks your agreement under section 15AA of the FOI Act to
extend the timeframe for the processing of your request by 30 days. This
would extend the due date for your request to 30 November 2020.

 

It would assist the Department in managing its FOI caseload if you could
provide a response to this request by close of business, Tuesday, 7
October 2020.

 

If agreed, the Department is required to provide your name and contact
details to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC)
for its records.

 

Please note that if you do not agree to the extension of time and the
Department is of the view that additional time is still required, we may
need to seek an extension of time from the OAIC under:

 

·         section 15AB of the FOI Act (due to it being complex or
voluminous), or

 

·         section 15AC (where the Department has been unable to meet the
statutory timeframe to finalise your request).

 

We will advise you if we intend to or have sought any extensions of time
from the OAIC.

 

If you wish to discuss this matter further, please do not hesitate to
contact us through the details below.

 

Removal of non-SES staff details for more efficient decision making

 

To allow for more efficient decision making, the Department will remove
all non-SES staff names and contact details from documents falling within
the scope of your request. This will not include those staff details that
have been provided to you, such as in correspondence sent by the staff
member to you. 

The need to assess whether staff details should be withheld adds to the
decision making time. The Department is committed to processing as many
access requests as it can during the pandemic. This means ensuring
requests are specific and that they allow for more efficient decision
making.

 

On this basis, unless you tell us otherwise, we will assume that these
staff details are excluded from the scope of your request and they will be
redacted under section 22 of the FOI Act; as being irrelevant to your
request.

 

When the processing period may be extended or suspended

 

As noted above, there are times when the timeframe for processing your
request might be extended by an additional 30 days. This can occur where
an extension of time has been agreed to by yourself under section 15AA of
the FOI Act or where the OAIC has granted an extension of time under
sections 15AB or 15AC of the FOI Act.

 

In addition, if documents you seek contain information of third parties
and the Department is of the view that is practical to consult with the
third parties, then the Department will be afforded an additional 30 days
to undertake that consolation process (see sections 15(6), 26A, 27 and 27A
of the FOI Act).

 

The Department will advise you if a third party consultation process is
required and of the revised due date for your request to be finalised by.

 

Additionally, there are occasions where the time to process your request
may be suspended. This will usually take place if a practical refusal
consultation process takes place (section 24AB of the FOI Act) or if a
charges notice is issued to process your request (section 29 of the FOI
Act). If the Department decides that either of these apply to your
request, the Department will notify you.

 

 

Communication with you

 

The FOI Act requires that you provide us with an address which we can send
notices to. You have advised your email address is
[1][FOI #6767 email]. We will send all notices
and correspondence to this address. Please advise us if you wish
correspondence to be sent to another address or if your address changes.
If you do not advise us of changes to your address, correspondence and
notices will continue to be sent to the address specified above.

 

FOI Disclosure log – Publication of documents released under the FOI Act

 

Please note that information released under the FOI Act may be published
in a disclosure log on the Department’s website at
[2]https://www.dva.gov.au/about-us/overview....
Section 11C of the FOI Act requires this publication, however it is
subject to certain exceptions, including where publication of personal,
business, professional or commercial information would be unreasonable.

 

When a decision is provided to you, the Department will advise if the
documents released to you will be published on the Department’s FOI
Disclosure log.

 

Contacting us about your FOI request

 

We will email again when the Department has more information. Should you
have any enquiries concerning this matter, please send an email to
[3][email address]

 

Further information on FOI processing can be found at the website of the
OAIC at [4]https://www.oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-infor....

 

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Jess (position number 62227602)

Information Access Officer

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [5][email address]

A: GPO Box 9998, Canberra, ACT, 2601 | W: [6]www.dva.gov.au

 

[7]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

[8]cid:image001.png@01D32593.9CC39540The Department acknowledges the
Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing
connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their
elders past and present

 

 

 

 

show quoted sections

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

Dear INFORMATION.LAW, I am happy to agree to a 7 day extension to my request.

Cheers

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Thank you for your email. The Department will take all reasonable efforts
to respond to your email and process your request.

Please note that due the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Department
is experiencing a diversion of resources that are critical to managing
Australia’s response. This means we may not be able to process your
request within the expected timeframe and where needed, will be seeking
extensions of time to manage requests and may need to consult with you if
your request is not clear or is for a large and unmanageable number of
documents. The Department remains committed to ensuring it can process as
many information access requests as it can during the pandemic. We ask for
your assistance by only making requests where they are of a priority and
to ensure those requests are as specific as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding,
cooperation and patience during this difficult time for all Australians.

More detailed messaging can be found on the Department’s website at
[1]https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n....

Kind regards,

Information Law Section
Department of Veterans' Affairs

References

Visible links
1. https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n...

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Parnell,

 

I refer to your recent FOI request, LEX 38412.

 

In your request, you asked for “the total number of Contract Medical
Advisors contracted / Employed by DVA as at 30/09/2020. Then categories
them into specialist services, IE General Practitioners, Dental Doctors,
Dental Surgeons, Dental Specialist, Vascular Specialist, Optical
Specialist etc etc etc. I further require information on which procedure
the Department of Veteran Affairs delegates use to select a Contract
Medical Adviser they seek for the appropriate medical opinion.”

 

I have consulted with our Clients’ Benefits Division regarding your
request, seeking to understand whether we have documentation to this
effect.

 

They were able to advise me that Medical Advisers are contracted by the
Department to provide assistance to the Delegates of the Commissions in
the interpretation and analysis of medical evidence, in the context of the
applicable legislative and policy frameworks. The Medial Advisers do not
and should not be seen to provide specialist opinion, nor do they conduct
medical examinations of claimants. For this reason, there is no business
need for the Department to keep a centralised record of specialty
qualifications, as they are not engaged in their capacity as a specialist.
The only exception to this is our general Dentists, who are engaged to
provide advice in their capacity as Dentists rather than as general
Medical Advisers.

 

With this in mind, I will be able to provide you with the number of
medical advisers currently contracted to the Department, along with the
number of general dentists and also an explanation of the procedure the
delegates use when they need a medical opinion. However, I will not be
able to provide a document that breaks down the general Medical Advisers
into their fields of specialty.

 

For this reason, I would like to ask you to consider revising the scope of
your request to:

 

“…the total number of Contract Medical Advisers contracted / Employed by
DVA as at 30/09/2020. Then categorise them into Medical Advisers versus
General Dentists. I further require information on which procedure the
Department of Veterans’ Affairs delegates use to engage a Medical Adviser
when they require a medical opinion.”

 

I would very much appreciate your response by COB Friday, 23 October 2020,
advising me whether you agree to the revised scope so that I can ascertain
next steps.

 

If you do not agree to the revised scope, it is likely that I will need to
issue a part access decision, with reference to sections 17 and 24A(1)of
the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cth), on the basis that the
Department cannot create a document matching the full description of your
request.  This is because section 17 of the FOI Act  only provides for the
creation of a document where the Department can create a document via the
use of a computer or computer programme ordinarily available to the
Department, and where such creation would not be an unreasonable diversion
of the Department’s resources.

 

Thank you for considering this revision.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you wish to discuss the above
further. 

 

Many thanks,

Jess

 

Jess (position number 62227602)

Information Access Officer

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [1][email address]

A: GPO Box 9998, Canberra, ACT, 2601 | W: [2]www.dva.gov.au

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

Please consider the environment before printing this email

[4]cid:image001.png@01D32593.9CC39540The Department acknowledges the
Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing
connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their
elders past and present

 

show quoted sections

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

Dear INFORMATION.LAW, Im happy with total numbers of GPs etc but still request Dentist Information as you have stated that you have that information.

I eagerly await your response.

Yours sincerely,

Rodney Kenneth Parnell

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

** This is an automated response. Please do not reply to this email **

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

Thank you for your email. The Department will take all reasonable efforts
to respond to your email and process your request.

Please note that due the threat of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the Department
is experiencing a diversion of resources that are critical to managing
Australia’s response. This means we may not be able to process your
request within the expected timeframe and where needed, will be seeking
extensions of time to manage requests and may need to consult with you if
your request is not clear or is for a large and unmanageable number of
documents. The Department remains committed to ensuring it can process as
many information access requests as it can during the pandemic. We ask for
your assistance by only making requests where they are of a priority and
to ensure those requests are as specific as possible.

We apologise for the inconvenience and appreciate your understanding,
cooperation and patience during this difficult time for all Australians.

More detailed messaging can be found on the Department’s website at
[1]https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n....

Kind regards,

Information Law Section
Department of Veterans' Affairs

References

Visible links
1. https://www.dva.gov.au/newsroom/latest-n...

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

2 Attachments

Dr Mr Parnell,

 

Thank you for your prompt response and agreement to the revised scope.

 

I confirm that we will proceed based on the following scope:

 

“…the total number of Contract Medical Advisers contracted / Employed by
DVA as at 30/09/2020. Then categorise them into Medical Advisers versus
General Dentists. I further require information on which procedure the
Department of Veterans’ Affairs delegates use to engage a Medical Adviser
when they require a medical opinion...”

 

You will receive our response by COB on Friday 6 November 2020.

 

Many thanks,

Jess

 

Jess (position number 62227602)

Information Access Officer

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

T: 1800 555 254 | E: [1][email address]

A: GPO Box 9998, Canberra, ACT, 2601 | W: [2]www.dva.gov.au

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

Please consider the environment before printing this email

[4]cid:image001.png@01D32593.9CC39540The Department acknowledges the
Traditional Owners of the land throughout Australia and their continuing
connection to country, sea and community. We pay our respect to all
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their cultures and to their
elders past and present

 

 

show quoted sections

INFORMATION.LAW, Department of Veterans' Affairs

3 Attachments

Dear Mr Parnell,

 

Thank you for your FOI request to the Department seeking the following
(revised on 22 October 2020):

 

“…the total number of Contract Medical Advisers contracted / Employed by
DVA as at 30/09/2020. Then categorise them into Medical Advisers versus
General Dentists.

I further require information on which procedure the Department of
Veterans’ Affairs delegates use to engage a Medical Adviser when they
require a medical opinion.”

 

As the Department held no records that sufficiently addressed your
request, a document has been created in accordance with Section 17 of the
FOI Act.

 

Please find this document, along with my Statement of Reasons, attached.

 

Should you have any concerns please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Kind regards,

Jess

 

Jess (position number 62227602)

Information Access Officer

Information Law Section

Legal Services and Audit Branch

Department of Veterans’ Affairs

t 1800 555 254 | e [1][email address] | [2]www.dva.gov.au

p GPO Box 9998, Canberra ACT 2601

[3]cid:image001.png@01D0027A.1DAB84F0

P Please consider the environment before printing this email

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