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1. Scope

1.1 This procedure describes the assessing, onboarding and induction requirements for new Outreach Program Counsellors (OPC), Group Program Facilitators (GPF) and clinical supervisors recruited through the statutory registration process.

2. Context

2.1. Open Arms Outreach Providers increase service accessibility for Open Arms clients through an established network of accredited mental health clinicians, engaged through statutory registration, to support the delivery of services on behalf of Open Arms across Australia. A large number of clinicians are engaged via statutory registration through the Outreach Program, into the roles of OPC, GPF and Clinical Supervisor (referred to collectively as Outreach Providers). Appropriately qualified and experienced external clinicians can be registered to provide one to all three of these service categories.

2.2. Outreach providers register with Open Arms through a statutory registration process (see the Outreach Program Statutory Registration Instruction (500-06/01)), which allows Open Arms to engage clinicians without the need for individual contracts. This is supported by the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 and the DVA Treatment Principles, which is a legal instrument conferring authority to this arrangement. The Outreach Program Counsellor Provider Notes (500-06/CD1) are a subordinate instrument under the Treatment Principles and are the basis for the agreement that Outreach providers enter into by registering with Open Arms as providers.

2.3. Outreach program counsellors represent the largest proportion of these clinicians, with over 1,000 clinicians registered nationally to provide services to veterans and their families, significantly increasing both the volume and reach of counselling services to clients. 

2.4. Group program facilitators support the group program through delivery of treatment programs and mental health training for Open Arms clients and the veteran community (see the Treatment Group Programs Procedure (202-04) and the Mental Health Training Workshops Procedure (202-05)).

2.5. Clinical supervisors provide external clinical supervision for all Open Arms clinical workers (see the Professional Supervision Procedure (401-02)).

2.6. The arrangements for onboarding and induction of all Outreach Providers is described below

3. Expected Outcomes

3.1. Open Arms service delivery provided by outreach providers is consistent and in accordance with the Open Arms Provider Notes (Provider Notes) and Open Arms policy. 

3.2. Open Arms’s engagement with its external providers is positive and constructive, based on open communication, a shared understanding of client service expectations, a collaborative, team-based approach to supporting clients, and enhanced referral options for clients.

3.3. External providers are prepared and equipped by the onboarding and induction process: OPCs and GPFs to provide timely, quality and accessible services for clients; and clinical supervisors to provide effective ongoing professional guidance to the Open Arms mental health workforce that is aligned with professional development needs and organisational requirements.

4. Outreach Program Overview

4.1. All Outreach providers (OPCs, GPFs and clinical supervisors) share a common statutory registration and onboarding pathway, and each has a separate induction. The processes for statutory registration are described in (500-06/01 Outreach Program Statutory Registration Instruction).

4.2. When a new provider has provided a complete application and met all mandatory eligibility requirements, statutory registration is formalised and onboarding is commenced (see the Outreach Program Statutory Registration Instruction).

4.3. Once onboarding is finalised the region is provided with the new providers details and they can proceed with system training and induction. This ensures the new provider is ready for the appropriate allocation of work as required (counselling clients, group treatment programs or clinical supervision).

4.4. Confirmation of completed training and induction, or confirmation that a client has already been allocated in order to facilitate CMS training must be provided to National Outreach Program Management via email for record keeping.

5. Outreach Provider Administrative On-boarding

5.1. Administrative onboarding of all new providers is completed by National Outreach Program Management.  This includes:

  • Collection and assessment of application documents
  • Formalising the statutory registration agreement
  • Obtaining a supplier number via Accounts Payable
  • Obtaining a client management system (CMS) profile (where required)
  • Arranging access to Health Direct Video Call (as required)
  • Providing a Welcome/Next Steps email to the new provider

5.2. Once the above process has been completed, the Region ADCOG is advised of the new provider and given a summary of their information. Once received, the region can commence CMS training (as required) and induction.

5.3. The region’s clinical support team records all OPC information in the VERA Blue Book section of the client management system including:

  • The OPC’s practice details including address, phone, hours, Medicare Provider Number and ABN
  • Services provided
  • Special interests and/or exclusions
  • The Statutory Registration Application and CV
  • Confirmation of AHPRA/AASW registration and Work with Children/Vulnerable People check
  • Completed System Access Control form

6. Client Management System Training - OPCs

6.1. The region’s clinical support team provides the new OPC with a CMS training session. This can be provided prior to or after the first client allocation, but must occur before OPC engagement with any clients.  Key areas covered include:

  • home page navigation
  • worker profile, preferences, availability and calendar
  • the collaboration suite (Messages)
  • service files and event pages
  • outcome assessments, consent forms, reports, risk assessment and clinical note locations and how to activate them

7. Client Management System Training - GPF's

7.1. The region’s clinical support team provides the new GPF with a CMS session once a group program has been allocated. Key areas covered include:

  • home page navigation
  • worker profile, preferences, availability and calendar
  • the collaboration suite (Messages)
  • consent forms, reports, risk assessment and  clinical note locations and how to activate them

8. Clinical Induction - OPCs

8.1. Clinical induction is conducted by the Outreach Program Regional Liaison or another regional clinician with experience in the region’s management of OPCs. Framed by the Outreach Program Provider Notes, which address most important aspects of the Outreach Program, clinical induction is expected to cover:

  • Client session expectations
  • Reporting and accountability
  • Quality and assurance expectations
  • Invoicing and billing processes
  • Overview of the Policy Hub, highlighting most commonly used sections or pages
  • Where there is limited experience (lived or professional) with veterans and/or military culture, new Outreach Program Counsellors are recommended to complete the following DVA Train online modules relating to:
  • Understanding the Military Experience;
  • Understanding our veterans: the ADF and the people who serve;
  • Other courses available on DVA Train can be competed at the providers’ discretion. Most of the module attract CPD points.


Client session expectations

8.2. Client session expectations are detailed in the Provider Notes, and should be consulted as a point of reference. In summary, the expectations are:

  • Open Arms services are evidence-based and delivered as episodes of care (see the Counselling Procedure).
  • Open Arms will fund an agreed number of sessions based on the Care Plan, and may agree to extensions where clinically justified.
  • Exit planning with the client begins from the commencement of an episode of care, in keeping with episodes of care.
  • Client care is treatment team-based, underpinned by a care coordination approach. OPCs are encouraged to liaise with the client’s treatment team
  • Including at Open Arms and the client’s other health professionals, with client consent.
  • If a client is assessed as at risk of harm to themselves or others, OPCs should follow (203-01 Clinical Risk Management Procedure). OPCs should also be directed to (202 - 03 Counselling Procedure) and associated policy for more detail.


Reporting and accountability

8.3. Reporting and accountability expectations are detailed in the Provider Notes, which should be consulted as a point of reference. In summary, the expectations are:

  • Upon receipt of a referral, an OPC is required to contact the client promptly to schedule their first appointment.
  • After each session or other client-related actions (session notes, care plans, reports, outcome assessments, care coordination), the OPC must update CMS, marking session attendance, carting relevant values and adding concise clear, clinical notes.
  • The following reports are required, uploaded to the CMS:
  • A Care Plan upon completion of the first three treatment sessions, incorporating a psychosocial assessment, risk assessment and treatment plan, see (202-02 Clinical Assessment and Treatment Planning Procedure).
  • Case Review reports following each set of approved sessions, which will include either a request for further sessions or a recommendation for closure if at the completion of an episode of care, see (202-03 Counselling Procedure).

9. Clinical Induction - GPFs

9.1. Group Program Facilitators (GPFs) require significantly less detailed induction than OPCs. Also, in many cases GPFs are existing OPCs, so have an existing relationship and understanding with Open Arms. 

9.2. Where there is limited experience (lived or professional) with veterans and/or military culture, new Outreach Program Counsellors are recommended to complete the following DVA Train online modules relating to: 

  • Understanding the Military Experience;
  • Understanding our veterans: the ADF and the people who serve;
  • Other courses available on DVA Train can be competed at the providers’ discretion. Most of the module attract CPD points.

Induction is conducted by the Group Program Coordinator and occurs at the time of   negotiating availability to facilitate their first program.

9.3.    Framed by the Outreach Program Provider Notes, induction should include the following:

  • Meet with the GPF to review the requirements of the GPF role and particular requirements of the group being negotiated 
  • Ensure the GPF has reviewed the Provider Notes.
  • Introduce the GPF to the Open Arms Policy Hub.
  • If not already provided, training in the use of the client management system should be undertaken ( refer to section 7 Client Management System Training for GPFs)
  • Outline the details of the group (co-facilitator, dates, times, number of sessions, potential size of group, venue, catering).
  • Forward the group program resources for review (PowerPoint, Facilitators Manual, Participants Manual, Handouts, and e-learning link).
  • Ensure the GPF is aware that the program content is adhered to for fidelity.
  • Review the requirements of facilitating the group:
  • GPF requires contact with co-facilitator for preparation
  • Pre-screening assessments are required for treatment programs
  • Individual case notes are required for treatment programs
  • Final group program report
  • GPF Letter of Engagement will detail all requirements and GPF fees
  • Risk management procedures including when and how to contact the GPC or ADCOG if a client’s level of risk increases, or the client requires additional support

These requirements can be reviewed with the GPF at the commencement of each group program.

9.4. For subsequent groups, after confirming availability, the requirements of the group and Letter of Engagement can be emailed.

10. Clinical Induction for Supervisors

10.1. Clinical supervisors do not require the detailed induction necessary for OPCs or GPFs, as they are not seeing Open Arms clients and do not need to use the client management system. However, they do need to have a thorough understanding of the veteran experience and Open Arms service requirements, in order to support Open Arms clinicians appropriately.

10.2. Before commencing their first supervision arrangement, supervisors are expected to:

  • Meet with the Open Arms Regional Director to discuss general expectations for the supervisory relationship and how this will relate to operational supervision
  • Familiarise themselves with the Open Arms Policy Hub, in particular 401 - 02 Professional Supervision Procedure and any other associated documents
  • Undertake the SafeSide training (if directed)
  • Where there is limited experience (lived or professional) with veterans and/or military culture, new Clinical Supervisors are recommended to complete the following DVA Train online modules relating to:
  • Understanding the Military Experience;
  • Understanding our veterans: the ADF and the people who serve;
  • Other courses available on DVA Train can be competed at the providers’ discretion. Most of the modules attract CPD points.

11. Quality assurance

11.1. Quality assurance is integral to the delivery of all Open Arms services including the Outreach Program, inclusive of counselling, group facilitation and clinical supervision (refer to the Continuous Quality Improvement Policy).

11.2. The quality assurance activities Open Arms undertakes related to quality assurance include the approval process for care plans and review reports, clinical audits, CMS client record audits, OPC billing audits, complaints and feedback management, and clinical incident event reviews.

12. Outreach Provider communication

12.1. Regular National communications to all outreach providers is managed by National Outreach Program Management to keep all Outreach Providers appraised of the latest clinical and operational information and updates within Open Arms. Communications may include:

  • Policy and procedure updates
  • Invitations to learning events or training opportunities
  • Annual eligibility audits and reviews
  • Newsletters with messages from the National Manager or First Assistant Secretary, plus other Open Arms updates as required

13. Outreach Provider lifespan

14. Parent Policy

11.1 500 Administration Policy

15. Subordinate Instructions and Templates

12.1 500-06/ CD1 Outreach Program Counsellor Provider Notes
12.2 500-06/ 01 Outreach Program Statutory Registration Instruction
12.3 500 - 06/ 03 OPC Billing Random Audit Instruction
12.4 500-06/ T1 VERA Billing Random Audit Completion Form
12.5 500-06/ T2 System Access Control Form
12.6 500-06/ T3 Administrative Staff Consent Form
12.7 500 - 06/ T4 Engagement Letter Proforma

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