Hearing Services Program provider notice 2022-03 – Temporary change to service requirements

The Schedule of Service Items and Fees (No. 1) 2022 is now available. Verbal maintenance agreements can be provided. The change to service requirements comes into effect 21 February 2022.

Date published:
Audience:
Health sector

The information in this notice has been made redundant and is provided for reference only. Current service requirements are in the 2023 Schedule of Service Items and Fees.

Updated Schedule of Service Items and Fees

The current Schedule of Service Items and Fees took effect on 1 July 2021, to consolidate and improve the clarity of the program requirements for service delivery.

The Hearing Services Program (program) has released an updated Schedule of Service Items and Fees (2021–2022). The changes include:

  • In exceptional circumstances such as the pandemic, bushfires and other natural disasters, the program may temporarily alter the requirements of the schedule, by issuing a notice, in the form of a Contracted Service Provider Notice (CSPN).
  • Update to Device Category ‘C3’ in the Schedule of Fees table to remove incorrect listed items. Non-standard (NS) devices are listed separately, and the prices are available in the Device Schedule on the Hearing Services Online Portal.

The updated schedule becomes effective Friday 18 February 2022.

Previous versions of the schedule are available on the Federal Register of Legislation.

The program has collected feedback following the first release of the schedule in 2021. This feedback is being reviewed and will help to shape the release of the next version of the schedule for 1 July 2022.

Temporary change to service requirements

We are mindful of the continued effect of COVID-19 on service providers, including an increase in clients not wanting to attend clinics and delays in postage of maintenance agreements.

We are enacting a temporary change to service requirements for maintenance agreements.

About the change

For an interim period, where a client is unable to sign their maintenance agreement within the 45 days prior to the start date of the maintenance period, providers can obtain verbal agreement initially. Providers should make every endeavour to get a physical signature in the 45 days prior to the commencement of the agreement.  Verbal agreement is acceptable provided that:

  • the client is linked to your business
  • the client has a current voucher at the start date of the maintenance period
  • the client was fully informed about the maintenance agreement, including the client co-payment amount and how to obtain repairs and consumables including batteries
  • you are able to ensure maintenance, repairs and batteries can be provided to the client
  • the verbal agreement to accept the maintenance agreement is documented on the client record
  • a written maintenance agreement is obtained within 3 months
  • verbal agreement can be provided up to 45 days before the current maintenance agreement expires
  • when submitting the maintenance claim in the portal, where possible, please indicate the method of obtaining agreement by adding VA (verbal agreement) or WA (written agreement) to the start of the provider reference field.

Note, for DVA Gold or White Card (hearing loss) holders, the item 777 service item may also be submitted if a client is verbally renewing a maintenance agreement.

When this change is effective

The change will become effective Monday 21 February 2022 and will cease 30 June 2022, unless otherwise directed by the program.

Compliance monitoring

If written agreement has not been obtained within 3 months of the client’s verbal agreement, providers must reimburse all related maintenance claims to the program.

Program requirements are monitored in accordance with the Compliance Monitoring and Support Framework [link to publication]. The program monitors compliance with program requirements and undertakes routine compliance checks in accordance with the service provider contract, specifically clause 16.

Please note that if any invalid claims are identified, including if a service was claimed when there is no evidence the client has given verbal agreement to a maintenance agreement, providers must reimburse the Commonwealth and may be required to reimburse clients. Please note that clients may be contacted to confirm their verbal agreement.

Further advice

On 4 February 2022 the Attorney General’s Department made temporary changes to the law to allow Commonwealth statutory declarations to be completed electronically during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statutory declarations can be made using electronic signatures and witnessing can occur using audio visual technology. These temporary changes are in place until 31 December 2022.

A reminder that any documents which require signing can be sent to the client and returned to the provider by email, post or fax. Documents can also be signed electronically; this includes eSignatures and digital signatures.

Hearing Services Program contact

Contact us for information about the Hearing Services Program.
Program contact
National Relay Service

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