Author: Editor

Changes to ACFI classification principles

The Department has introduced a new fee for every ACFI question that providers seek reconsideration of and can use the qualifications of the person delivering care to determine the care recipients’ needs. Earlier this week it issued a notice telling providers: “Following consultation with the sector, the government is implementing changes to the ACFI announced in the 2015‑16 MYEFO measure, Aged Care Provider Funding – improved compliance. To implement some of the changes, the following amendments have been made to the Classification Principles 2014 (the Principles), effective from 1 March 2017: The department will be able to take into account the manner in which care was provided, and the qualifications of the person providing the treatment in determining the level of care that a care recipient needs. A fee of $375 (GST exclusive) per ACFI question will be charged for a request for reconsideration of an ACFI review decision. The government will consult further with the sector on the amendments to the Principles requiring re-appraisal where an ACFI review has identified that a care recipient’s care needs have significantly decreased. From 1 March 2017, the department will no longer routinely seek additional information to verify ACFI subsidy claims after the ACFI review visit is completed. Approved providers will continue to be able to submit additional information for 48 hours (i.e. two working days) following the completion of an ACFI review...

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Opal embarks on back to back development rollout

It’s been a big week for Opal Aged Care, which opened its highly anticipated 151-bed aged care home on the Sunshine Coast and began development on a 146-bed home in the Moreton Bay Region. Kawana Waters on the Sunshine Coast is an integral part of the Oceanside Health Hub development, sitting alongside the soon-to-be opened Sunshine Coast University Hospital, medical centres, and the upcoming Stockland Oceanside Retirement Village. Together this is one of Queensland’s largest health infrastructure projects. The $32 million dollar development specialises in dementia care and seeks to “reimagine residential care”, Opal Aged Care Managing Director, Gary Barnier said. “The idea around continuum...

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Legalities you need to know about review websites and social media

As complaints and reviews increasingly move from behind-closed-doors to public fodder on the internet and social media, we asked Minter Ellison to give some advice on what providers need to know.   These types of review websites raise legal issues for both the service provider and the website operator. In particular privacy and confidentiality, defamation, consumer laws and for healthcare providers, the National Law. It is the responsibility of the website operator in operating the website and publishing content on the website to manage these legal risks and comply with the requirements of these laws particularly the websites that make this content available to the world at large. The reviews may be of the provider organisation or agency and/or the individual healthcare provider. Some websites focus on the provider organisation and others on the individual healthcare provider. Websites can collect and publish non-confidential factual information about organisations such as their address, location, contact details, which is not protected by copyright protection. Privacy To the extent website collects personal information about individual healthcare providers and personal and health information about consumers, the website operator will need to comply with applicable privacy laws including the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and State and Territory based health records laws when collecting, using and disclosing personal information. Websites can collect individual provider’s personal information that is publically available for the purposes of including it on...

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Complaints Commission expands into social media

The Aged Care Complaints Commission has expanded its social media presence adding Twitter and Facebook accounts to its regular communication channels including a YouTube account. In a news update announcing this, the Commissioner said: “Our ongoing social media presence is giving us the opportunity to post information about our role as the Complaints Commissioner, our resources, upcoming events and much more.” “As our audience gets larger, our information is being spread further and we would like you be involved in helping us to grow. We would love for you to like and follow our accounts as well as share any information that you believe would benefit your networks.” While the Commission doesn’t have a strong following just yet with only 9 subscribers on YouTube and 71 followers on Twitter, we can only assume these channels will be embraced by consumers wanting to share their ‘evidence’ of alleged abuse and malpractice in a more public forum than via a phone call or complaints form. We hope the Commissioner received some legal advice from its in-house advisors or their colleagues over at the Attorney General’s Department before essentially encouraging people to name and shame, because our understanding is that this is a legal minefield. If you haven’t already read our article about online rate and reviews websites or these tips from Minter Ellison now would be a good time to do...

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Benevolent Society reiterates calls for independent Pension Tribunal

The Benevolent Society is urging everyone in aged care to support its campaign to #fixpensionpoverty, which includes calls for an independent Pension Tribunal to determine a fair base rate. The not for profit organisation launched the #fixpensionpoverty campaign last September after releasing a research report, together with Research organisation Per Capita and The Longevity Innovation Hub, that indicated the Age Pension was woefully inadequate. The core message of the report was that many older Australians living on the Age Pension live at such a low living standard that it is undignified, insufficient and inadequate. During NSW Seniors Festival, which runs from 3-12 March,  The Benevolent Society will be reminding people that many older Australians living solely on the Age Pension are living in poverty, particularly those renting on the private market. “It is clear that the Age Pension is inadequate. It is unacceptable that people who have contributed to society all their lives are forced to live at or below the poverty line,” Dr Kirsty Nowlan, Executive Director, Strategic Engagement, Research and Advocacy at the Benevolent Society said. Currently, increases to the Age Pension are determined by complex two-tiered benchmarking and indexation every six months, not closely linked to community living standards, price changes and actual cost of living. A Pension Tribunal will provide an independent, expert mechanism for setting a fair base rate for the Age Pension. The Benevolent Society has been advocating...

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