SWEP Communique - Orthoses Update

29 November 2019

Dear AT Practitioner

We are writing to you to clarify Victorian Aids & Equipment Program (VA&EP) funding availability for the Orthoses category.


We have reviewed current practice in relation to our orthoses application management following the release of the VA&EP Operational Policies (July 2019) and the SWEP team's organisational restructure. In addition, we have consulted with professional associations and our Clinical Advisors.


We acknowledge and apologise if there has been some confusion post the release some years ago of the 'SWEP Orthosis Quotation Template'.  This template was developed to support AT Practitioners identify and separate 'clinical' and 'actual device' costs, which has been particularly important with the roll out of the NDIS in Victoria and subsequent changes in funding models. 


The review we have undertaken has enabled us to ensure consistent practices are applied, the Operational Policies that we are obligated to work within are adhered to, and that there is transparency and equity of access for all VA&EP consumers, regardless of equipment category.


The changes that will be implemented effective January 1, 2020 are as follows:

  1. VA&EP will only cover orthoses costs associated with the actual manufacture of the device including for example material costs, casting/measuring/scanning and fabrication.
  2. Where 'shipping' costs apply to have the device delivered from the nominated supplier to the consumer's home, these delivery costs can be itemised on the quote and funding towards this additional cost will be considered over and above the applicable subsidy for this item. 
  3. The SWEP Orthoses quotation template has been amended to reflect information required for VA&EP consumers.
  4.  There is now a separate subsidy amount that will apply for 'specialised footwear, shoe modifications and extra depth/width shoes' of $200 per pair. The subsidy of $450 for custom made shoes remains unchanged. The timeframes for replacement remain unchanged.


While we recognise and respect that AT Practitioners' clinical time is crucial to ensure appropriate prescription for consumers, it is noted that no other equipment category within VA&EP considers clinical time as part of equipment cost. The Operational Policies clearly note that the subsidy is intended to fund the AT device only.


Any applications received prior to January 1, 2020 will be processed in line with current practice to ensure that consumers already in the assessment phase or whose applications have already been lodged with SWEP are not disadvantaged.


We appreciate stakeholder input into this review but note our obligation to the Victorian Government to administer funds within the parameters of the VA&EP Operational Policies.


Thank you for your ongoing support and understanding in relation to these changes.



Jeni Burton - Operations Director

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