Deeming rates and base interest rate (BIR) changes
In response to queries received by the department, we can confirm that the base interest rate (BIR) for aged care is 2.25% from 1 June 2020.
The BIR is calculated based on the lower deeming rate as defined in the Fees and Payments Principles 2014 (No. 2).
On 12 March 2020 the Australian Government announced that the lower and upper deeming rates would decrease from 1 May 2020. It was anticipated the BIR would decrease to 2.5% from 1 June 2020. However, the announcement of a second reduction in rates meant these rates never came into effect.
On 22 March 2020 the Government announced a further decrease to the deeming rates from 1 May 2020. As a result, the BIR is 2.25% from 1 June 2020.
Launch of the Quality Vision for Aged Care
The Aged Care Sector Committee (ACSC) has recently released its Quality Vision for Aged Care. The vision is designed to support the aged care sector’s work in delivering consumer centred care and services that enhance quality of life and quality of care for senior Australians.
The goal of the Quality Vision is for all Australian Government-subsidised aged care services to demonstrate high quality, consumer centred services that are safe, effective, inclusive, caring, transparent, accessible, responsive, and well-led. The principle of continuous improvement supports these characteristics at both a service and sector level.
The vision was prepared by the Quality Sub-group, formed by the ACSC, to:
- develop a strategic vision for quality in aged care
- investigate and prioritise the components of a strategic vision for quality in aged care in the 2020s
One page posters providing visual representations of the Quality Vision have been developed.
Read the Quality Vision and supporting resources.
Understanding and accessing Department of Veterans' Affairs services webinar series
The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) and Older Persons Advocacy Network (OPAN) have been hosting a webinar series of 8 free interactive educational webinars. We encourage you to join us for the remaining 3 webinars in the series. When you register you will receive instructions about how to access the webinar on the day.
The aim of these webinars is to inform health professionals, community workers, veterans and their families about the services that are available.
Webinar 6: Tues 30 June, 11:00–11:30am — Moving into an aged care home
Attend this webinar, to understand:
- the aspects to consider when selecting and moving into aged care
- the process and supports available, including aged care advocacy
Webinar 7: Tues 30 June, 2:00–2:30pm — Accessing services in aged care homes
Attend this webinar, to understand:
- managing care in aged care homes
- accessing health services and equipment
- staying connected
Emergency leave provision
The Australian Government announced the new emergency leave provision for residential aged care on 14 May 2020.
The new leave provision enables, for a specified time period and location, care residents to take emergency leave (non-hospital), rather than using their existing social leave entitlements.
The COVID-19 pandemic has been deemed an emergency situation. Emergency leave will be available from 1 April 2020 to 30 September 2020.
A payment system solution is being designed by Services Australia for a late June 2020 release. Functionality will include suspending social leave count during the emergency leave period. Providers should continue to enter social leave events for a care recipient as per the current process.
There will be no additional leave coding required.
Home Care Package inclusions/exclusions — food
Providers have asked for clarification about whether food can be included in a Home Care Package. The answer is:
- YES — the preparation and delivery of meals is included
- NO — the raw food component of those meals is not included, except in the case of enteral feeding
The department has not agreed to a standard split/ratio for the raw food component. This is a business decision for the company who is providing the meal services to calculate how much the raw food component is. Home care providers should discuss with the consumer the amount of the raw food contribution, as well as how and who it is paid to, as part of the negotiation with the meals provider and the consumer.
Food referred to as ‘takeaway’ is also an excluded item. ‘Takeaway’ food is generally defined as food you would buy from a restaurant or food outlet.
Section 9 of the Home Care Packages Program manual for providers includes more information to help determine what can and cannot be included in a Home Care Package.
Report available from Home Care Packages Program provider survey
In late 2019 to early 2020, home care package providers participated in a survey and data collection activities to better understand the care and services delivered under the Home Care Packages Program.
The results provide a national picture of the types, volume and cost of care and services delivered under the Program in the 2018–19 financial year and the June-September 2019 quarter. The information will be used to inform current and future policy, to continue to improve the Program.
We thank all providers who participated in this project.
Read the Home Care Provider Survey report.