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Frontline: NDIS and Aged Care news you need to know (02 March 2023)

Aged Care

Navigating pricing changes

The Home service pricing and agreements – Navigating changes the right way provider guidance is now available to help providers to continue to meet their responsibilities. This guidance will assist providers in navigating the right way to:

  • ensure reasonable and transparent pricing
  • consult with consumers and gain mutual consent before making changes to agreements
  •  deliver care and services consistent with consumer needs, goals and preferences
  • cease home services

NDIS complaints data highlights that lack of communication and consultation about care, fees and charges are frequently raised as issues of concern by consumers who receive home services.

At the centre of many of these complaints, there has often been a change to care arrangements.

These issues consistently trend as the most common complaints in the home services sector.

The new guide aims at helping providers improve their communication and consultation about pricing and agreements.

New webpage to explain reforms

A new webpage and video for consumers explaining the Strengthening Provider Governance reforms are now available. Providers are encouraged to share these resources with their workforce and consumers.

The resources provide an overview of the new governance responsibilities of approved providers. They include information on the role of Consumer Advisory Body/ies and how consumers can expect to participate.

New quality indicators come into force April 1

The Department of Health and Aged Care is further expanding the National Quality Indicator (QI) Program on April 1 as part of the Australian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

These changes are being implemented through the 2021–22 budget measure Empowering consumers of aged care with information to exercise choice.
Six new quality indicators will be introduced for residential aged care:

  • activities of daily living
  • incontinence care
  • hospitalisation
  • workforce
  • consumer experience
  • quality of life.

A suite of resources is available for residential aged care providers to support consistent data collection and quality improvement activities relating to the new quality indicators. These resources are available on the Department’s website.

The indicators are expected to flow on to Home Care providers.

How to implement reforms: guides available

Approved providers and aged care workers are reminded that detailed guidance documents are available to support implementation of the 1 December 2022 reforms.

These are:
  • Provider responsibilities relating to governance – Guidance for approved providers
  • Code of Conduct for Aged Care: Guidance for approved providers and Code of Conduct for Aged Care: Guidance for aged care workers and governing persons
  • Serious Incident Response Scheme: Guidelines for providers of home services

An extensive range of supplementary resources including fact sheets, videos and more is available on the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission’s website.


Quarterly Report out

The latest NDIS Quarterly Report has been released. This Quarterly Report is a summary of how the Scheme performed from 1 October 2022 to 31 December 2022.

Reading the Quarterly Report is a great way to identify new business opportunities, track Scheme progress and get insights into NDIS markets. You can find detailed provider information in Part 4 (from page 86).

The NDIA continues to support the growing NDIS market, with work including more home and living options and partnering with the sector to improve quality and outcomes of support coordination.

There are also several thin market trials being run in all states and territories.

By way of explanation, thin markets exist where there is a gap between participant needs and their use of funded supports.

NDIA’s evaluations of thin market trials explore what market inventions are successful, for who, when and how.

Report highlights

  • 573,342 participants are now receiving NDIS support with 20,477 new participants joining this quarter (a 4% increase).
  • Total payments for participant supports were $31 billion in the 12 months to 31 December 2022.
  • The largest support categories are:
    • core daily activities (54% of total payments).
    • social and community participation (20% of total payments).
    • capacity-building daily activities (therapy services), (13% of total payments).
    • The total number of enrolled Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) homes continues to increase.
    • The number of active participants with SDA supports has increased by 17% annually over the last three years, reaching 22,069 as at 31 December 2022.
    • The average plan budgets for SDA supports have also increased by around 12% per annum, leading to an increase in total SDA supports in participant plans by around 31% per annum, from $148 million as at 31 December 2019 to $334 million as at 31 December 2022.
    • You can read more about SDA supports from page 100.
  • The average payment per participant has increased by 6.4% per annum over the three years from 31 December 2019 to 31 December 2022. The average plan budget has increased by 3.9% per annum over the same three years.

Updated booklets available

Providers with NDIS participants who use languages other than English now have translations of the updated participant booklets in 17 languages.

You can download these from the Languages page of the NDIS website.

The NDIS has added five new languages: Assyrian, Dari, Khmer, Korean and Turkish.

Digital braille and Auslan video translations of the booklets are available for the first time.

AUStism is back in Sydney, Melbourne

AUStism is back for a third year with an incredible line-up of speakers with powerful stories to share, each bringing unique perspectives and new insights.

They will challenge, inform and inspire you by broadening your understanding of the diversity of autism experiences.

Organisers Autism Awareness Australia have put together a diverse line-up of presenters including Jana Pittman (former Olympian and doctor) Michael Theo (autistic advocate and star of ‘Love on the Spectrum’), Jo Abi (journalist and autism parent), Kathrine Peereboom (founder of Spectrum Support and the Global Voluntary Disclosure Project), Sonny Adorjan (co-founder of Woodism and autism parent) and co-authors of The Australian Autism Handbook Seana Smith and Benison O’Reilly among others.

Dates: 30 March, Sydney (Art Gallery of NSW); 2 April, Melbourne (State Library of Victoria).

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