Department of Health
The Victorian Alcohol and Drug Collection (VADC) is an important initiative that strengthens the understanding of drug treatment services delivered in Victoria. This insight will improve outcomes for the thousands of Victorians each year who seek treatment for their alcohol and other drug (AOD) use.

Achieving this objective requires a high quality and complete dataset.

Below are recommendations for how to ensure the quality of your organisation’s data submissions:

Review the Service Event Statement each month

Shortly after data submissions are due, the department will send your organisation a Service Event Statement via its Managed File Transfer (MFT) Account. Only those service providers that are consortia leads or area funded for standalone activity will receive the statement.

The Service Event Statement is a list of year-to-date service events and contacts that your organisation has reported, and which have been accepted onto the department’s VADC database.

The statement lists the key VADC data elements that were reported for each service event. It also states how many funding units (such as Drug Treatment Activity Units (DTAU), Episodes of Care (EOC) or Courses of Treatment (COT)) the event is likely to be allocated.

For example, the statement will list the start and end date for a given service event and the service stream code, funding source code and target population code, among other codes, that is was reported with.

What is the benefit of the statement?

The statement can help service providers to identify data entry errors in the service activity data it reports to the VADC.

For example, it can be used to identify services events:

  • the remain open yet should have been reported as closed;
  • reported with the incorrect funding source code;
  • reported with the incorrect target population code;
  • reported without an ACSO COATS identifier; and
  • that do not meet the rules to be allocate a funding unit (i.e. DTAU, EOC or COT).

View the Service Event Statement information sheet for further instruction or contact the department's data team at vadc_data@health.vic.gov.au for advice on how to best use the statement.

Ensure relevant service events are closed prior to reporting

Only closed service events (i.e. those reported with an end date) will contribute towards a service provider’s performance target.

The department is aware that sometimes a clinician may forget or not be able to close a client’s service event until after that month’s data has been submitted to the department. In this instance, the event remains open on the department’s database but closed on the service provider’s system.

The Service Event Statement (see above) can be used to identify those service events that remained open at the time the data was submitted. Any events that incorrectly remain open can be resubmitted to the VADC to ensure it counts towards your organisation’s performance target.

Contact the department’s data team at vadc_data@health.vic.gov.au for advice on how to close and resubmit service events that were unintentionally left open.

Report the correct funding source code

Service events that are reported with the incorrect funding source code cannot be mapped by the department to the service provider’s performance target. As a result, the event will not be included in the performance report and your organisation may not reach its target.

About the code

Each service provider is funded to deliver a specific set of AOD activities (for example: assessment, adult residential drug withdrawal, counselling, youth outreach, among others).

Each of these activities is associated with two key VADC codes:

  • A service stream code – which identifies the specific AOD service that was delivered.
    For example, the service stream code for comprehensive assessment is 71, whereas the code for residential drug withdrawal is 10.
  • A funding source code – which, in combination with the service stream code, identifies the specific service activity that was delivered.
    For example, if a residential drug withdrawal event (service stream code 10) is reported with the funding source code for Youth-specific facility withdrawal (code 120), the department will identify this as a drug withdrawal treatment event that was delivered in a specially funded youth residential facility.

These codes tell the department whether the service provider is delivering the activity it is funded to deliver, as per its service agreement.

See the VADC Data Specification for more information about these codes.

How does the funding source code relate to performance targets?

As per the example above, a service provider that is funded to deliver a youth-specific residential drug withdrawal program would have a performance target for this activity in their service agreement and in their performance report.

Any service events that it reports with the code combination of residential drug withdrawal (service stream code 10)” and Youth-specific facility withdrawal (funding source code 120)” would contribute towards the provider’s performance target.
However, if the service provider reported, in error, the funding source code as 119 – Mother/baby withdrawal program, then this event would not contribute towards its youth residential drug withdrawal performance target as it does not match the activity the provider is funded to deliver.

How do I know which funding source code to use?

The department provides a funding activity letter to service providers in the first quarter of each financial year that states which funding source code, service stream code and target population code should be reported for the activities it is funded to deliver.

Service providers can use this letter to inform their clinical teams about which code combinations should be reported for the service activity they are delivering.

You can request a copy of this letter from your Agency Performance and System Support (APSS) Advisor or by emailing aod.enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Report the correct target population code

Service events that are reported with an incorrect target population code cannot be mapped by the department to the service provider’s performance target. As a result, the event will not be included in the performance report and your organisation may not reach its target.

About the code

In certain cases, the department will fund a service provider to deliver an activity to a specific target population. For example, a mother and baby drug withdrawal program or youth-specific outreach.

Where an activity is funded for a specific population, the service provider is required to report the associated service events with the respective target population code. For example, service events for a youth-specific outreach program must be reported with the target population code for youth (code 6).

This tells the department that the service provider delivered the activity to a client that met the target population requirements of its funding.

See the VADC Data Specification for more information.

How does the funding code relate to performance targets?

As per the example above, a service provider that is funded to deliver a youth-specific outreach program would have a performance target for this activity in their service agreement and in their performance report.

Any service events that it reports with the service stream code 51 – Outreach and target population code 6 – Youth will contribute towards the performance target.

However, if the service provider reports, in error, the target population code as 1 – Men, then this event would not contribute towards the performance target as it does not match the funding requirements for the activity.

How do I know which target population code to use?

The department provides a funding activity letter to service providers in the first quarter of each financial year that states which funding source code, service stream code and target population code should be reported for the activities it is funded to deliver.

Service providers can use this letter to inform their clinical teams about which code combinations should be reported for the service activity they are delivering.

Note – service providers that are funded to deliver general non-specific activities can report any of the target population codes listed in the VADC Data Specification. In this case, all target population codes are valid, and the event will count towards the performance target.

You can request a copy of the funded activity letter from your Agency Performance and System Support (APSS) Advisor or by emailing aod.enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Report a valid ACSO COATS identifier for forensic clients

In most cases, the client’s valid ACSO COATS identifier must be reported in order for the service event to be flagged as forensic activity, for it to attract a forensic DTAU weighting and for it to count towards the service provider’s forensic performance target.

The exception is for service events reported for the Drug Diversion Appointment Line intervention and the Kickstart program.

About the code

Any client reported with a valid ACSO COATS identifier will be flagged by the department as a forensic client. The activity that is then delivered to these clients will count towards the provider’s forensic service performance target.

The identifier is issued by ACSO COATS when a service file is opened for the client in Penelope, ACSO’s client management software.

Refer to the Forensic Client Definition Policy 2020-21 or visit coats.acso.org.au website for more information about how to obtain an ACSO COATS identifier.

How does the ACSO COATS identifier relate to performance targets?

Most service providers have a performance target for delivering services to forensic clients. If the activity is DTAU funded, service events delivered to a forensic client will attract a 15% loading.

The department will identify a client reported with a valid ACSO COATS identifier as a forensic client. If this identifier is not reported, the activity will not count towards the forensic performance target and will not attract the 15% loading.

As a result, the service provider may incorrectly appear to be underperforming against its forensic target.

How do I obtain and report the ACSO COATS Identifier?

Refer to the Forensic Client Definition Policy 2020-21 for more information.

This information is also found in the DTAU and EOC/COT Derivation Rules.

Ensure reported activity meets the DTAU and EOC/COT derivation rules

Service events that do not meet the DTAU or EOC/COT derivation rules will not be allocated the respective funding unit and will not contribute toward the service provider’s performance targets.

About the derivation rules

The derivation rules state how the department calculates funding unit performance from a service provider’s reported data.

These rules are based on the AOD Program Guidelines and are used to ensure that only service events that meet the key funding requirements for an activity are allocated a funding unit

Refer to the DTAU and EOC/COT derivation rules for more information.

How do the DTAU and EOC/COT derivation rules relate to performance targets?

Service events that do not meet the derivation rules do not contribute to a service provider’s performance targets.

For example, a brief intervention must be delivered in person, by phone or via telehealth services in order for the event to be allocated the DTAU base of 0.781. Events that are delivered in writing or via email, for example, will not be allocated the DTAU base. This is because the department does not consider these methods of contact to be appropriate as the primary means for delivering this kind of service.

Avoid reporting supplementary values where possible (e.g. not stated/inadequately described)

The VADC collects information about client demographics and treatment outcomes in addition to information about what treatment the client received. This information is key to better understanding how to improve outcomes for Victorians seeking drug and alcohol treatment.

Clinicians can report a supplementary value, such as ‘not stated/inadequately described’, if they do not have enough information at hand to accurately report certain data elements to the VADC.

However, if the information is available then the clinician should report it accurately. Failure to do so may not only impact the quality of VADC data but also the service provider’s reported performance.

For example, from 1 July 2020, treatment service events that are reported with a supplementary value for ‘percentage course completed’ will not be allocated the relevant DTAU.

To encourage improved reporting practices, the department will use the VADC Bulletins to regularly communicate data elements that the sector commonly reports with a supplementary

Contact the department for support

The department’s VADC Data team is available to support service providers with improving the quality of their data submissions. Please contact them at vadc_data@health.vic.gov.au if your organisation needs assistance.

If your query is primarily related to your organisation’s performance targets or other aspects of funding policy, please contact your APSS Advisor or email aod.enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Reviewed 10 July 2020

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