Frontline: NDIS and Aged Care news you need to know (30 Sep 2022)

NDIS News

1. Transport and travel costs: don’t be out of pocket

Providers need to have a clear understanding of travel and transport costs as they relate to participants and know when to claim them if they want to make sure they’re not out of pocket.

Did you know support workers and therapy providers can charge travel for the time spent accompanying participants for community access, travelling to a participant to deliver face-to-face supports – as well as non-face-to-face costs such as parking vehicle running costs and the like?

But you need to know the specific conditions and requirements of each travel type before lodging claims.

2. Victorian government to frame new legislation

The Victorian Government has signalled major new legislation to frame disability inclusion.

It has made a draft of the Bill available for providers to provide feedback before it is tabled.

3. NDIS revamp

Minister for the NDIS, Bill Shorten, has announced a revamp of the NDIA with a new Chair and Board, along with a new Chief Executive Officer.

The new Chair, Kurt Fearnley, is the first person with a disability to take on the role – a move welcomed by disability sector organisations across Australia.

National Disability Services’ CEO, Laurie Leigh, welcomed Mr Fearnley’s appointment.

She said: “Mr Fearnley brings a mufti-faceted perspective to the role as a person with disability with high-level experience in the governance of a disability service provider and previous involvement with government as a member of the BDIS Advisory Council.”

She said the appointment of Rebecca Falkingham as CEO “will be pivotal in the agency’s change of relationship with participants and providers.”

Ms Falkingham was the Secretary of the Victorian Department of Justice and Community Safety and previously held senior positions with the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The inclusion of other people with disability on the Board – former Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, and Marianne Diamond – and the return of Denis Napthine has also been welcomed.

4. New NDIA corporate plan out

The NDIA has released its 2022-26 Corporate Plan, which outlines its strategic roadmap aimed at achieving its purpose – guiding guidance to its work over the next four years.

Its performance will be measured against five aspirations:

  • A quality experience and improved outcome for participants
  • A competitive market with innovative supports
  • A genuinely connected and engaged stakeholder sector
  • A high performing NDIA
  • A financially stable sustainable NDIS

5. Rise in NDIS Participants

There has been a three percent rise in the number of NDIS participants in the quarter ending June 30, 2022 – making it a total of 534,655 participants in the scheme.

Total payments for participant supports’ hit $28.7 billion (on an accrual basis) from July 1 2021 to June 30, 2022.

The largest support categories are core daily activities (55 per cent of total payments) , social and community participation (19 per cent) and capacity building daily activities or therapy services (13 per cent).

Aged Care News

6. New quality indicators

Two new indicators will be added to the Department of Health and Ageing’s aged car quality indicator (QI) program from April 1, 2023. These are ‘Consumer Experience’ and ‘Quality of Life’.

Providers will need to collect consumer experience and quality-of-life assessments from every resident each quarter, starting from April-June 2023 quarter. They will need to submit the quality indicator data in the July 1-21, 2023 reporting period.

Residential aged care providers have been urged to begin collecting the new Qis routinely to ensure they are ready before mandatory collection from April 1 next year.

7. Dementia: Making a statement

With some half a million Australians living in dementia – and 1.6 million people involved in their care – it’s more important than ever for communities to come together to learn more about how they can support people living with dementia.

A 2021 Dementia Australia survey found 65 per cent of respondents who live with dementia believe discrimination towards them is common or very common, and more than 90 per cent of [professionals, volunteers and people not impacted by dementia agree that those affected are likely to be treated differently once they have been diagnosed.

The report points out that it is not always evident that someone has dementia and, in the same way physical ramps and other measures are used to support people with physical disabilities, metaphorical ‘ramps’ are needed to inform we as a community can reduce discrimination and stigma for people with dementia.

8. Home program start date pushed back

The Federal Government has pushed back the start date if the Support at Home program to July 1, 2024, to give home care providers additional time to get their affairs in order – and for the government to flesh out more detail.

The previous Coalition government had a July 1, 2023 deadline – even though the Royal Commission into aged care had recommended 2024 as the start date.

It was the commission’s key recommendation in its final report.

There has been scant detail on how the program will work – giving rise to sector-wide concerns as to how it will be successfully implemented.

Dr Nick Hartland, the DOH’s First Assistant Secretary for Home and Residential Care, said the primary feedback received to date was around flexibility for consumers and support plans and providers through the funding mechanisms.

“That was consistent feedback- that consumers needs change quite quickly so there’s a need to be able to service types and be flexible across how funding is used. We need to work through what that would mean for the model if it was to go ahead, and where government wants to take that,” he said.

It is now expected that the government will engage in further consultation with end users and providers on what the new system will look like.

9. It’s up to us!

That’s the theme of the inaugural three-day ACCPA National Conference in Adelaide from October 12-14.

The conference, which offers more than 100 speaking sessions on a wide range of issues and topics impacting the aged care sector, will provide insights and stimulate important conversations on reform opportunities and challenges facing the aged and community care sector.

The theme reflects the reality that everyone in the sector needs to play their part into transforming and making the sector more relevant to today’s – and tomorrow’s – needs.

Barry

Barry brings over 10 years of experience as a senior manager and consultant in the aged care, home care and disability services sectors. Prior to joining the industry, Barry has worked for and consulted major corporations, SMEs and government agencies in Australia and overseas for more than 40 years in senior management roles.

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