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Information for Aged Care Providers
01 July 2019

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Australian Government Department of Health: Message to the Aged Care Sector

Information for Aged Care Providers

Special Edition 01 July 2019

Welcome to this special edition of the Newsletter with information about the changes that take effect from today, 1 July 2019, including:

  • My Aged Care website
  • new Charter of Aged Care Rights
  • new Aged Care Quality Standards
  • National Mandatory Aged Care Quality Indicator Program
  • improvements to home care pricing information
  • reductions to the maximum basic daily fee
  • regulation of physical and chemical restraint in aged care

My Aged Care website

A new My Aged Care website has been released. It has a simple design and user-friendly content to help consumers find the information they are looking for. The ‘Find a provider tool’ has more filter options to help consumers and their support network find and compare service providers in their area.

The department will continue to update the website in response to feedback and ongoing user testing.

New Charter of Aged Care Rights

The new Charter of Aged Care Rights is now in effect and provides the same rights to all consumers, regardless of the type of Australian Government funded care and services they receive.

The Charter helps to create a shared understanding about the rights of people receiving aged care.

Resources to support the sector’s understanding of the Charter are available on the department’s website. Hard copies of these resources are also available and can be ordered by emailing our distributor directly at Health@nationalmailing.com.au.

Resources include a:

  • Charter of Aged Care Rights booklet for consumers to inform them of their aged care consumer rights
  • Charter of Aged Care Rights poster to display in your organisation and promote awareness of the Charter.

The booklet is being translated into 18 languages and will be available on the department’s website for downloading and printing shortly.

The Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) has supported the department with raising awareness and providing education about the Charter, which includes support to aged care service providers and consumers. More information is available on OPAN’s website.

More information about the Charter is available on the department’s website.

The Aged Care Quality Standards

From 1 July 2019 all Australian Government funded age care providers are required to meet the Aged Care Quality Standards.

The Aged Care Quality Standards focus on quality outcomes for consumers. This will make it easier for consumers, their families, carers and representatives to understand what they can expect from a service. It will also make regulation simpler for providers working across multiple aged care services, and encourage innovation, excellence and continuous improvement.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission independently accredits, assesses and monitors the performance of aged care services against the Standards.

Supporting guidance material, including ‘Guidance and resources for providers to support the Aged Care Quality Standards’ and a self-assessment tool, are available to download from the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s website.

National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program

From 1 July 2019 all Australian Government subsidised residential aged care providers are required to comply with the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program as outlined in the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Quality Indicator Program) Principles 2019.

Services are now required to collect and submit data for each care recipient against each quality indicator. The first data collection period is 1 July 2019 to 30 September 2019 with data due to the department by 21 October 2019.

Providers are required to activate the Quality Indicator tile on the My Aged Care Provider Portal to enable data submission. For information on how to activate the Quality Indicator tile, please contact the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor Helpline on 1800 836 799.

Supporting guidance material, including quick reference guides and the Program Manual, are available to download from the department’s website.

Improving Home Care Pricing transparency and comparability 

Improvements have been made to home care pricing information requirements from 1 July 2019, including:

  • requirement to publish prices in the new standardised pricing Schedule, as well as a full price list on My Aged Care
  • inclusion of the Schedule within all new Home Care Agreements from 1 July 2019 and for existing clients, providers will have until 1 July 2020 to comply
  • no longer charging separately for business-related administration costs.

These changes were made in response to feedback from consumers about the lack of transparency and comparability of home care pricing information, and the high administration costs being charged by some providers.

The improvements will enable people to better understand and compare common services and costs across home care providers and make a more informed decision about which provider is best suited to deliver their care.

Providers who have not yet entered their pricing information into My Aged Care must do so as soon as possible through the My Aged Care provider portal.

The department is monitoring home care providers’ compliance under the new requirements and will be taking compliance action where appropriate.

Information and all support materials are available on the department's website.

Reduction in home care fees 

From 1 July 2019, the annual amount of the maximum basic daily fee for home care packages will reduce by:

  • $400 for level 1
  • $200 for level 2
  • $100 for level 3

The new maximum basic daily fee rates are available on the schedule of fees and charges for residential and home care.

To maintain the value of the consumer’s home care package, the Government will automatically increase the value of its subsidy for each package level by the same amount. This increase applies to both care recipients who entered care after 1 July 2014 and continuing care recipients regardless of the amount of basic daily fee that is actually paid.

More information is available on the Federal register of legislation website and the department's website.

Regulation of physical and chemical restraint in aged care 

From 1 July 2019 residential aged care providers have specific responsibilities in relation to the use of physical and chemical restraint.

The use of physical or chemical restraint must be a last resort.

The regulatory changes require providers to satisfy a number of conditions before restraint can be used, including assessment by an approved health practitioner (for physical restraint) or assessment by a medical practitioner who has prescribed the medication (for chemical restraint).

The aged care home must also have the informed consent of the consumer or their representative before using physical restraint, unless restraint is necessary in an emergency.

A decision to use restraint should be a strategy of last resort and any use of restraint must also be regularly monitored.

The Decision-Making Tool Kit is available on the department’s website to support providers to implement a restraint free environment. The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has also made a Self-Assessment Tool available to download.

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