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Information for the Aged Care Sector

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Information for the Aged Care Sector
Press release: 18 March 2021

This newsletter provides important information on matters affecting the aged care sector, including aged care initiatives, programs and processes. We encourage you to share this newsletter with your colleagues and workforce, particularly your communications teams, and encourage them to subscribe for future updates.

In addition to the newsletter, we also send announcements which provide short snippets of targeted information and are sent as required. To help ensure you haven’t missed any important information from us, we’ve added links to recent announcements including all COVID-19 updates.

In this issue:

Residential Care:

Home Care:

Announcements since the last newsletter:

The department has also distributed these ‘Protecting Older Australians’ and ‘COVID-19 vaccine’ updates:


Confirming client consent for online referrals to My Aged Care

When a consumer applies for an assessment online or is referred for assessment by a GP, they consent to having a client record created and being assessed. A family member, friend or GP applying on behalf of a client provides the client’s implied consent.

Assessors must confirm consent directly from the client as soon as possible, when arranging or conducting the assessment. Where a client does not have capacity to give consent, the client must have an authorised representative act on their behalf. Assessors must confirm that the client and/or representative agrees to:

  • a record being created (If the client does not agree, the record must be removed – call the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 with the details of the record)
  • having a face to face assessment
  • the representative nominated on the referral.

In the My Aged Care assessor portal, assessors can determine the referral pathway by viewing:

  1. Assessment referral – the ‘Assessment reason’ section of the referral in the My Aged Care assessor portal will read: “Client referred via Self-service on [date]”.
  2. Attachments tab – the inbound referral information can be accessed via the Attachments tab in the client record in addition to any attachments uploaded as part of the application process.

Further information is available in these resources:

Reminder: Share your views – new approach to nominating specialisations in My Aged Care

Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA), on behalf of the department, is seeking feedback from aged care providers on a proposed:

  • new approach for providers nominating specialisations in My Aged Care
  • verification framework which details the criteria, evidence, and verification approach for nominated specialisations.

We would like to hear from provider representatives involved in making decisions on nominating specialisations in My Aged Care. Your feedback will help inform the final approach and process for providers nominating specialisations in the care of people from the nine Special Needs Groups.

Please complete the anonymous online survey by Monday 22 March 2021.

For further information contact AHA by:

Serious Incident Response Scheme – prepare for the change on 1 April

The Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS) will come into effect on 1 April 2021. From this date, providers of residential aged care and flexible aged care (where care is delivered in a residential care setting) must have an effective incident management system in place. They will also need to begin reporting ‘Priority 1’ incidents within 24 hours. To prepare for the changes, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has developed a number of support materials. For more information visit the Commission’s website.

Providers will report incidents through a new tile on the My Aged Care Provider Portal. Providers should make sure enough staff have access to the portal to submit reports on time. For information on accessing the My Aged Care Provider Portal, including easy to use guides, visit the department’s website.

Reminder: Business Improvement Fund grants for residential aged care

Grant opportunities for the Business Improvement Fund for residential aged care close on 30 April 2021.

Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) hosted a webinar demonstrating how to access the Business Improvement Fund. You can watch the webinar, or view the presentation slides.

Providers can apply for one of the following streams of funding:

  1. Business Improvement (refer to Frequently Asked Questions for BAS requirements on the GrantConnect website)
  2. Sale of a Facility
  3. Closure of a Facility.

For more information and to submit your application form:

Applications must be submitted via GrantConnect by 2:00pm AEST on 30 April 2021.

Important changes to the QI Program

The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) will include new quality indicators from 1 July 2021:

  • Pressure injuries
  • Physical restraint
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Falls and major injury
  • Medication management

More information is available on the department’s website. Updated guidance materials will soon be provided.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (Commission) now manages aspects of the QI Program. Further information about this role is available on the Commission’s website.

The My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 can now help with data submission, along with all your QI Program enquiries.

Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care

The Review Report: Independent review of legislative provisions governing the use of restraint in residential aged care was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 1 March 2021 and is now available on the department’s website.

The independent review was completed by Australian Healthcare Associates and informed by consultation with a broad range of stakeholders including staff working in residential aged care, residential care residents and their family members, and organisational stakeholders including peak bodies.

The Australian Government has already announced an initial response which includes strengthened legislative obligations for aged care providers and an independent review mechanism through a Senior Restraint Practitioner to be appointed to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. This was part of Government’s broader response to the Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, also released on 1 March 2021.

Improving food experiences for older Australians

On 18 February 2021 the department hosted the National Congress on food, nutrition and the dining experience in aged care in partnership with the Maggie Beer Foundation.

The Congress brought together over a hundred invited delegates with local and international expertise, with about half attending in Sydney and half online. They explored how good food, nutrition, and the dining experience can contribute to the well-being outcomes of older Australians. Experiences from large and small providers, experts from national bodies, academics, and the food industry were showcased.

The department is now developing policy options for Government consideration to help improve the food, nutrition and dining experience within aged care. For further information, contact nutritioninagedcare@health.gov.au

The deadline for uploading and submitting grandfathered client data into the My Aged Care provider portal is 11.59pm on Friday 26 March 2021.

By this date, you must:

  • upload your grandfathered client data using the new data collection template
  • enter client service information in the portal
  • submit the completed information.

Reminders/tips

  • If grandfathered clients are unwilling to give you the necessary information, let them know there is no impact on their current services.
  • You need to collect a unique identifier (Medicare, DVA or CRN number) for successful migration.
  • There are no ‘offline’ options for submitting the data collection template (spreadsheet) – you must upload it using the My Aged Care provider portal and enter service information for each client.
  • Some providers have uploaded their client information in the provider portal but have not submitted the final information – click ‘submit’ once all clients’ status are ‘ready to submit’.

Find detailed information about this data collection process on the department’s website at CHSP News.

New online performance reporting process for CHSP providers delivering Sector Support and Development

Reporting of your organisation’s Sector Support and Development (SSD) activities for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 is due by 31 March 2021 as per Item E: Reporting in the Commonwealth Home Support Agreement.

Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) providers can access the performance report on the department’s website.

Performance reporting for SSD has moved to an online format. The new format is intended to simplify completion of information. The front page includes instructions on how to complete the report. You should have your Approved Work Plan with you for completion. Access to the portal will be available until 31 March 2021.

If you have any issues or queries regarding completion of the report using the portal, please contact your FAM in the Community Grants Hub.

If you wish to provide feedback on this new approach, please contact HomeSupportPolicy@health.gov.au

Changes to a Support Plan Review referral

The department has improved the way Home Care Package Support Plan Review (SPR) requests are processed by My Aged Care.

When the My Aged Care contact centre receives a request for an SPR from a Health Professional or GP, the contact centre will now liaise directly with the home care provider.

The contact centre will advise the Home Care Package provider of the new referral information. The provider will determine if the changed care needs can be serviced through the existing package, or if the client requires a reassessment for a higher level package.

The change seeks to:

  • reduce unnecessary SPR requests sent to assessors, allowing them to prioritise essential requests
  • improve the client experience by being able to address a client’s immediate needs.

For more information about this change, please call the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799.

Webinar: Improved Payment Arrangements for Home Care

The department will hold a webinar in the coming weeks about Improved Payment Arrangements Phase 2.

From 1 September 2021, providers will be paid in arrears, based on actual services delivered.

Services Australia will create a home care account for each care recipient. The Australian Government will hold any unspent Commonwealth funds which accrue from 1 September 2021 in the home care account. These funds will continue to be available to care recipients when needed.

This webinar will cover:

  • details about care recipient monthly statements
  • reporting on unspent funds
  • opting in to return the provider-held Commonwealth portion of unspent funds
  • transitional financial assistance for eligible providers.

There will be an opportunity to ask questions about the information covered in the webinar. Send your questions to IPA.Enquiries@health.gov.au

Date and time of the webinar will be confirmed.

Further information on IPA is available on the department’s website.


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