Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Regulatory Bulletins
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (the Commission) has released updated information in its regulatory bulletins regarding provider performance information, banning orders, and changes to administration and management charges for Home Care Packages.
The updated Regulatory Bulletin 2023-18 Publication of provider performance information contains information on Star Ratings (including the Compliance Rating). It also explains what information gets published on their website, including performance reports, accreditation decisions, etc. Providing transparency in this area supports choice, continuous improvement and visibility to the work undertaken by the Commission.
The Commission also now has the power to “prohibit or restrict [individuals] from being involved in the provision of any type of aged care or specified types of aged care, or from engaging in specified activities as an aged care worker or governing person of an approved provider”. These banning orders are only in serious instances and in accordance with statutory provisions. The Aged Care Banning Order Register has information on these individuals. The Banning Orders Regulatory Bulletin has also been released to provide more information on when and how a banning order is issued, breaches to banning orders, and more.
There have also been changes made to the charges regarding the administration and management charges in the Home Care Package (HCP) Program. From 1 January 2023, there will be a cap of 15-20 per cent depending on package level. Exit charges will no longer be permitted. The Changes to Administration and Management Charges in the Home Care Packages Program Regulatory Bulletin outlines this and more information.
Strengthened Quality Standards
The Department of Health and Aged Care (the Department) is seeking feedback on the most recent consultation process of the draft revised Quality Standards, including how performance is assessed. A pilot program will also be trialled, applying the Standards in practice in. Providers can nominate a service to participate in the program. It is the intention when choosing participants that they represent the aged care sector as accurately as possible. For any feedback, suggestions or questions, email the Commission at email@example.com.
New Residential Aged Care Quality Indicators
From 1 April 2023, providers will need to begin collecting data for six new quality indicators, which will be introduced in the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program). These indicators are: daily living; incontinence care; hospitalisation; workforce; consumer experience; and quality of life. Data for these new indicators will be submitted in the 1-21 July 2023 reporting period for the April-June quarter. Data can be submitted through the My Aged Care portal and other existing channels. Any enquiries can be emailed to QPSec@health.gov.au.
Home Care Packages (HCP) Program Operational Provider Manual Update
Following consultations with stakeholders in the aged care sector throughout 2021 and 2022, and then subsequent development of the Home Care Packages Assurance Review report, the HCP Provider Manual has been updated to reflect this feedback. Updates include clarification on HCP care and service exclusions, pricing guidance, unspent funds, Serious Incident Response Scheme (SIRS), and more.
ATAGI Advice on 2023 COVID-19 Vaccine Booster
The Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) has recently released recommendations regarding a booster dose of the COVID-19 vaccine for eligible individuals which has been accepted by the Australian Government. As a result, from 20 February 2023, all adults who have not had a COVID-19 booster or a confirmed case in the past six months can now get another booster dose, particularly those 65 years or older, adults aged 18-65 who have medical co-morbidities or disability with complex health needs. Providers can start working with primary care providers to plan for residents to receive this booster as soon as they become eligible. For any COVID-19 vaccination support, please email RACFVaccineClinics@health.gov.au and they will liaise with the relevant Primary Health Network to determine what assistance is available through primary care providers in your area.