A frequently asked question by veteran patients is ‘Does the DVA cover medical cannabis’?
While medicinal cannabis has been legal since 2016, the Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) only began funding medical cannabis in 2018. The DVA now covers medical cannabis prescriptions for eligible veterans through an approval process called VAPAC (Veterans Affairs Pharmaceutical Advisor Centre).
Funding for medicinal cannabis treatment is considered in cases where veterans have already had other treatments for their medical condition funded and accepted by the DVA. This includes Orange and Gold Card holders, White Cardholders with an accepted condition, or non-liability healthcare.
All DVA appointments at CDA Clinics are privately billed. It is possible to receive partial or full consultation reimbursement using the DVA Expense Claim Form, but this is not guaranteed.
What’s the DVA medical cannabis process at CDA Clinics?
Contact your specialist doctor and have them complete the CDA DVA Referral Form (either prior to or after your initial consultation with CDA Clinics). Acceptable specialists are those that treat you for pain, cancer or other acceptable conditions. Please note the DVA does not cover medicinal cannabis for PTSD, anxiety, depression or any other mental health condition, thus a Psychiatrist can not be the endorsing specialist.
From there, your CDA Clinics doctor will consult with you regarding the application process and will submit an application to the DVA.
Once the DVA has received and reviewed the application, they can either approve, decline or request for more information.
If approved, CDA Clinics will receive an approval letter. Your CDA consulting doctor is then able to arrange a VAPAC Authority prescription through the Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (RPBS).
This DVA VAPAC approval initially lasts three months before renewal. Schedule 8 (S8) prescriptions are required to be issued monthly, whereas Schedule 4 (S4) prescriptions may have repeats.
Please note that the DVA may not reimburse for costs already incurred, but they can be applied for reimbursement using the DVA 1181 form.
For more information on DVA funding for medicinal cannabis, visit the DVA website here.
If you’re an existing CDA patient who is a veteran, please email us for any enquiries relating to DVA funding. If you’re a veteran considering medical cannabis, please register as a patient and we can help you through the process.