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Frontline: NDIS and Aged Care news you need to know (24 December 2022)


Group-based supports providers

NDIS providers of group-based supports in the Social, Economic and Community Participation support category will see the transitional pricing arrangements cease on June 30, 2023.

The NDIA has established a dedicated team to support providers through the transition and will release a suite of support resources in early 2023.

This will include a handbook and easy-read information to help communicate the changes to participants.

SDA monthly support item removed, replaced

NDIA has removed support item 06_434_0131_2_2 (SDA Monthly Amount) and will manually create the service bookings for existing participant plans where this support item has been used.

This item was introduced in July 2022, along with item 06_431_0131_2_2 (SDA Quotable Amount), which continues to be available to claim for SDA when it is stated in participants’ plans and where the funds are agency-managed and the quote accepted by the agency.

Language interpreting

Participants and providers can now access immediate telephone interpreting services through the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) National’s assisted service on 131 450 within Australia.

The service is available 24/7 though not all languages will be available during all time periods.

Using the TIS will not impact participant plan funds.

No booking is required and no cancellation fees apply. For more information, go to the TIS National website.

Dashboards released

The NDIA has released a new range of Disability Dashboards to help providers find information about primary disability types represented in the NDIS.

There are 13 dashboards containing key insights about demographics, supports and providers for participants within the disability group. They include details about outcomes achieved by these NDIS participants, and their experiences.

The dashboards build on the work of previous in-depth reports and will be refreshed annually. The data used can be downloaded in Excel format and will be updated quarterly.

Aged Care News

New aged care star system opens to mixed reviews

The new aged care star ratings system has rolled out to a mixed reaction, with some quarters questioning the accuracy of ratings and others the fact that only one percent of residential aged care homes receiving a five-star rating.

The unions, including the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, have expressed scepticism over the ratings release.

ANMF federal secretary Annie Butler was quoted in The Guardian as saying she was “very surprised” that only nine percent of homes were ranked as needing improvement.

United Workers Union’s Aged Care director, Carolyn Smith, also questioned the figure.

She said: “That certainly hasn’t been the numbers we’ve previously seen – that surprises me. I don’t think any aged care worker would say 91 percent of providers are three stars and above.”

Aged Care Minister Anika Wells, however, remains optimistic. She wants to see the three-star benchmark become the “floor” – the minimum – for providers and that they should all be aiming for five-star excellence.

Ms Wells said the ratings system was vital to fixing the aged care crises.

She said: “Star ratings were a key commitment from the Albanese Government because sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

Masks now back in favour in aged care

Chief Medical Officer Prof. Paul Kelly is now encouraging aged care providers re-introduce the wearing of N95 or P2 masks when indoors or engaging with participants as COVID 19 cases continue to be recorded in the community.

This is one of several strategies outlined to cope with or prevent widespread infection in aged care settings.

These include:
  • Staff and visitor surveillance testing through rapid antigen testing and screening for symptoms
  •  Facilitating in-reach PCR testing, where necessary
  • Activating and scaling ip Outbreak Management Plans.

Positive wage rise

Aged Care workers will see a rise in their base pay rates with the 5.2 per cent and 4.6 per cent rise in the National Minimum Wage and the modern award minimum wage.

Full time workers on the NMW and the modern award minimum wage will both receive $40 more a week, equating to $21.38 an hour (NMW) and $22.88 an Hour (MA).

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