Friday, 30 June 2023
First Assistant Secretary, Reform Implementation Division
Department of Health and Aged Care
Acting Assistant Secretary
Department of Health and Aged Care
Department of Health and Aged Care
[Opening visual of slide with text saying 'Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care (with logo)', 'Greater transparency about aged care providers and services - new reporting requirements', '30 June 2023', with the speakers connecting via videocall and visible on the right-hand side of the screen]
[The visuals during this webinar are of the speakers connecting via videocall and visible on screen, with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen]
Thank you all for attending today's webinar about the new reporting requirements to improve provider transparency. I'm Thea Connolly, First Assistant Secretary for the Department of Health and Aged Care, and I'll be co-hosting this event with my colleagues Katie Holm and Eleanor Browne.
I'd like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we are virtually meeting today. The speakers and I are based in Canberra on the lands of the Ngunnawal people. I'd like to pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging and I'd also like to extend that acknowledgement and pay my respects to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are here with us today.
I'll just shift to a little bit of housekeeping. There will be a Q and A session at the end of the webinar. You can lodge questions in the Slido box on the right-hand side of your screen. We will attempt to respond to as many questions as possible at the end of the webinar. The questions we don't get to will be answered and published on our website. This session will also be recorded and uploaded on to our website along with the slides.
We are here today to discuss reporting mechanisms and the importance of ensuring greater transparency and accountability in aged care. Assistant Secretary Katie Holm will give an overview of the requirements and processes for submitting provider operations reporting and will provide a brief run-through of the Provider Operations Collection Form which you will use to submit your reporting.
Acting Assistant Secretary Eleanor Browne will then discuss the quarterly financial report and how data is captured and used to improve transparency in the system and also provide valuable insights into sector performance. I'll then provide an update on the strategic direction of aged care reforms overall and will discuss our priorities and plan to work with you to prepare for the changes ahead.
I will just mention we have an hour and a half set aside for today. We have allowed a fair bit of time for questions. It's possible we might finish a little bit earlier but we will certainly finish on time.
So without further ado, over to you Katie to talk about the new provider operations reporting.
Thank you Thea. Good afternoon everybody.
So, we are making some changes to aged care provider governance arrangements and the reporting requirements to encourage greater accountability and transparency of aged care services.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety recommended that older people have better access to information about approved providers' operations.
So what does this mean?
From the 31st of October this year residential care, home care and transition care providers will need to report additional information about their operations to the Department of Health and Aged Care on an annual basis. This additional information about provider operations, along with some additional information on residential aged care provider income and expenditure, is expected to be published onto the My Aged Care website from early 2024.
Where possible information for publication on My Aged Care will be sourced from information already collected under existing reporting arrangements. And the aim of this is to help older people, their families and carers in one place find information about provider operations. Having that easy access to this information will support older people, their families and carers to make informed decisions about their care and to find a provider that's right for them.
So at a high level, residential care and home care providers will need to report on the following information by the 31st of October every year through the Provider Operations Collection Form. So that will include: a statement signed by the governing body that the provider complied with its duties under the Aged Care legislation, and if not, why and what is being done to fix this; information about diversity such as whether the provider's governing body includes representatives from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, disability, gender diverse and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, as well as key things done to support a diverse and inclusive environment for care recipients and staff at each service; the most common kinds of feedback and complaints received by each service; key improvements made to service quality; and information on the governing body membership.
We'll also be asking them to provide information about any individual who holds an executive position in the organisation, such as a CEO, for publication on the My Aged Care website.
So, the reporting requirements for transition care providers. They'll report slightly different information, again the same time periods apply, and that will be through their existing Transition Care Annual Accountability Report. That will include the most common kinds of feedback and complaints received by each service, as well as those key improvements that have been made to service quality.
These changes to aged care provider governance arrangements and the reporting requirements don't apply to providers who operate under a grant agreement such as CHSPs, so that's the Commonwealth Home and Support Program, and the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program.
We're not expecting that this reporting requirement will be an entirely, hugely additional burdensome task for people because it's already information that providers have at hand and are collecting already. The detailed information being sought is available in the residential home care and transition care provider transparency fact sheet on the Department's website.
So there's some important dates to be aware of.
The reporting period begins on 1 July and ends on 30 June each year. Providers will need to lodge the information by the 31st of October. For this year, the first year, the reporting period commenced on 1 July 2022 and finishes today, the 30th of June. So that reporting needs to be provided to the Department through the Collection Form by the 31st of October 2023.
So the Provider Operations Collection Form. As mentioned the residential and home care providers need to submit the required information online through the Provider Operations Collection Form, or the Collection Form as we call it for short. The form will be available through the Government Provider Management System or GPMS provided there. And we're asking that you please ensure that you are subscribed to the Your Aged Care Update newsletter to receive an alert on Monday that will outline how to log into GPMS for the first time, information about the newly available Collection Form, and links to a range of helpful resources.
Extra care and time has been taken in the build of the Collection Form to minimise the administrative effort that providers will be expected [to make] to share the information with us. So the expectation is that providers will have that information at the ready. And we've done work at the back end to make sure that that the process will be as smooth as possible for you. You'll have the opportunity to preview your information before it's published on My Aged Care website.
So, we've got a short video to share with you that provides a run-through of the Collection Form and shows you what you can expect to see from next week when the Collection Form is available. The video with resources will be available on the Department's website when the Collection Form is available for access.
(Start of video playing)
This video provides a brief overview of submitting reporting through the Provider Operations Collection Form. For more detailed information please refer to the provider user guide available on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website.
When you login to the Government Provider Management System, or GPMS, you'll be taken to the GPMS home page. Please note if you are a GPMS organisation administrator, you will need to make sure that you correctly set up access and roles for people in your organisation who need to access the Provider Operations Collection Form. If you do not have access to GPMS or cannot see the Provider Operations Reporting tile, visit the ‘Accessing the GPMS’ webpage on the Department of Health and Aged Care's website.
When you select the Provider Operations Reporting tile in GPMS you will be taken to the home page of provider operations reporting. This page is called the Submission Page. In this video we will guide you through submitting a new submission. For this demo we have started a Collection Form and we will select 'Resume' to continue.
Please note once you have started a Collection Form you can save and close the form and resume at any time before the 31 October submission deadline. Whenever you enter a Collection Form you will be taken to the Privacy Statement. Carefully review the Privacy Statement, then select 'Agree'.
This page is the first page of the Collection Form. It provides you with introductory information and links to the Provider Operations User Guide and Frequently-Asked Questions resources. On the left-hand side of the Collection Form page is the navigation bar which provides links to each section of the Collection Form and indicates your progress through each of the sections. You can move between sections and navigation bar in any order, but you will not be able to submit your Form until all sections are completed which are indicated by a green tick.
When you select 'Next' or 'Back' or 'Options' in the navigation bar the pages will automatically save the information that you have entered provided that there are no errors on the page. Select 'Next' to continue to the next page, key personnel.
The key personnel section asks you to provide the details of senior executive key personnel. This section is specifically looking for details about key personnel which make executive decisions in your organisation and who are willing to have their name and role published on the My Aged Care website. We request the details of at least one person be provided. You may enter up to a maximum of three people's names and roles. You must gain consent from the person or people you are listing in this section. Once you have consent select 'Yes' to the privacy consent question. Once completed select 'Next' to save and continue.
The governing body membership section seeks details on the two new governing body membership requirements that came into effect on 1 December 2022 where the governing body must have a majority of independent, non-executive members and there must be at least one member with experience in providing clinical care. All providers are required to complete this section of the Collection Form even if the governing body requirements do not apply to them. Complete each of the questions by selecting 'Yes' or 'No' and then once complete please select 'Next' to save and continue.
This section requires an upload of a signed Governing Body Statement which allows providers' governing bodies to demonstrate their understanding of, and accountability for, issues affecting the quality of care of aged care recipients. The Governing Body Statement is to be accompanied by a declaration signed by a member of the approved provider's governing body, on behalf of all members of the governing body for each provider, that delivers a home care service or residential care service. The signed declaration is to be uploaded to this Collection Form for submission through GPMS.
All parts in this initial section of the Statement need to be completed by all residential care and home care providers. If your governing body member believes the organisation has complied with all of its responsibilities and requirements, download and print the Statement for signature and then upload a scanned version of the signed Statement into this section of the Collection Form. Once uploaded select 'Next' to save and continue.
This section seeks information on the diversity of your organisation's governing body. Consent from governing body members must first be obtained prior to reporting information on the diversity of the members. This information collected may be published on My Aged Care. Select one, some or none of the following responses as appropriate for your organisation. Select 'Next' to save and continue.
This section seeks information about initiatives implemented at each residential service and home care service to support a diverse and inclusive environment. The Collection Form lists each service name and service ID that operated during the reporting period from 1 July 2022 to 30th June 2023. Click on each service to enter data about the initiatives implemented at that service to support a diverse and inclusive environment. Answer all questions for each residential and home care service in that reporting period with a 'Developing', 'Implemented' or 'No' response. When the data has been entered for a service, a grey tick will be displayed against the service. Please select 'Save' to regularly save your work as you progress. Once completed please select 'Next' to save and continue.
In this section, for each service, providers are asked to report on:
- the three most common kinds of positive feedback received about each service operated by the provider during the reporting period,
- the three most common kinds of complaints received about each service operated by the provider during the reporting period, and
- the three main kinds of improvements made in relation to the quality of the service during the reporting period.
Providers may record their responses using the pre-determined categories available or have the opportunity to provide free text responses if the appropriate category is not listed in the dropdown. Free text responses throughout this Collection Form should not contain personal information of any individuals. Be sure to complete Feedback, Complaints and Improvements for each service during the reporting period and please be sure to select 'Save' often to regularly save your work as you progress. Once fields are completed select 'Next' to continue.
This is the final step where you submit your fully completed Provider Operations Collection Form to the Department of Health and Aged Care. Once submitted you will not be able to go back and edit or review your responses within the Collection Form. You are encouraged to carefully check all the data entered prior to final submission. You must be the person authorised by the approved provider to submit the completed Collection Form. If you have not completed all sections in the Form you will see this left-hand navigation bar marked with red crosses. If any of the sections in the Collection Form are showing a red cross, please revisit them and complete the required information.
Once you have completed and reviewed all sections in the Collection Form as indicated by the green ticks in the navigation bar and are ready to make the declaration and submit the form, select 'Agree' and 'Submit'. You will then receive an acknowledgement as a popup on your screen to let you know that your Provider Operations Collection Form has been successfully submitted.
(End of video playing)
Thank you to the team for organising the load of the video - I'm hoping that it was as successful for everybody on the webinar. It certainly played for me well so I heard all of that.
And it's important for you to seek more information on setting up access to GPMS, the Government Provider Management System. Please visit the GPMS webpage on the Department of Health and Aged Care website. We've got those links there for you. For further information on changes being made to the strengthening provider governance and improvements on transparency in aged care we've got a range of resources available on the Strengthening Provider Governance webpage on the Department's website, so please access it there. Further documentation including a user guide and manual will be available on that page when the Collection Form is launched. And just a reminder, please subscribe to the Your Aged Care Update newsletter through Aged Care Engagement Hub to keep up to date with all of the reforms.
So I'll now hand over to my colleague, Acting Assistant Secretary Eleanor Browne.
Thank you Katie.
My branch is responsible for the collection of the Aged Care Financial Report and the Quarterly Financial Report or QFR. As well as collecting this information from providers, we're responsible for using this information to provide key insights back to the sector and to older Australians to help them make informed decisions about their aged care. This is part of the work we're doing to build accountability and transparency through the collection of better financial information and more publications.
I'm going to start by giving a brief overview of how QFR reporting is being used in different transparency measures. And then I'll give a little bit more detail on the Dollars Going to Care election commitment which is a new publication at the service level which will commence early next year.
As you can see QFR information is being used for several key transparency measures. This follows the principle that we collect once, but use many times, to ensure we're gaining maximum value from the information providers submit to us. Together these measures are empowering older Australians to make more informed decisions about their care.
Analysis of the QFR also allows us to get an up-to-date picture of sector performance, allowing us to see, for example, sector profitability, implementation of care minutes, spending on food and nutrition and median hourly wage rates. Transparency measures drawing on the QFR include star ratings, the Quarterly Financial Snapshot which provides regular sector-level financial information on financial performance and other key measures like progress towards care minutes targets, and also Dollars Going to Care which was an election commitment of government to publish service-level information for the benefit of older Australians from early 2024.
It is essential that providers report accurately through the QFR as from early 2024 we will be publishing information at a service level on My Aged Care based on what you report. Although we'll do our best to ensure that accurate information is published, if you report inaccurately, this information may flow through to information being published on My Aged Care. It's also important to note that the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission may also take compliance action for late or inaccurate reporting under the QFR. That said we've had really high rates of completion for the ACFR and the QFR since it commenced in the first quarter of this financial year and the sector has adapted really well to this new reporting requirement.
I'm now going to focus a little more on what information will be published from early 2024 under the Dollars Going to Care election commitment. Dollars Going to Care was an election commitment to publish service-level financial information on My Aged Care to enable older Australians and their families to better compare services. This will support older Australians to make more informed care decisions and drive an improvement in care outcomes. This followed findings from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that older Australians should have access to more detailed and frequent information about aged care providers. Since July 2022 we have been consulting with older Australians and the sector on what information people want to see and how to ensure that information makes sense. As Katie mentioned, we released an exposure draft of the relevant legislation in May for comment and that legislation has now been finalised and will be in force from the 1st of July 2023.
As a result of the consultation we have undertaken over the past year we've developed three principles to guide our implementation of the measure. These being: that information should be standardised, meaning that all information will be published at the same rate to enable direct comparisons. For example, older Australians and the sector agreed that most information should be published at the per-resident-per-day rate rather than total figures without context.
Information will also be benchmarked, meaning that there will be a straightforward sector comparison datapoint for any information published to provide immediate context for older Australians and to allow providers to compare their results with the sector median.
Information published will also be meaningful. We won't publish too much information that is difficult to understand. Instead, we are limiting what we are publishing to the key information sources older Australians have told us they want to see. For example, we've heard that people want to know more about expenditure on food but are not so interested in depreciation costs.
In terms of what key information will be published about services on My Aged Care, this information will include income at the service level, expenditure on care including labour costs, and expenditure on food, maintenance, cleaning and administration, again at the service level. This information published will also include profits and losses at the service level.
This information is all derived from existing reporting submitted to the Department through the Aged Care Financial Report and the Quarterly Financial Report. However the full list of information to be published may be expanded based on our current consultations. So this list should be taken as a minimum rather than a complete list.
We did receive submissions in response to our exposure draft that we could also publish information around hourly wages paid by providers to their registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers and this is something we are actively considering for January 2024.
Less detailed information about income and expenditure will also be published for home care providers.
It's important to note that we do intend on building on this information over time and there will be opportunities to provide feedback and to iterate this product over time.
We will continue to consult to ensure that information we publish is useful and meaningful. From July last year to now, we've been focusing on consulting with the sector, unions and older Australians on what information should be published under the measure and now we are focusing on how it should be published in order to contextualise any information published. This is to ensure that older Australians and their families understand the meaning and limitations of any information published. We're going to start publishing this information from January 2024 and we'll update it quarterly thereafter.
As I mentioned we'll be building on and improving this measure over time. So in the new year we'll start consulting on how to enhance the measure through publication of additional information. More information on how to get involved in such consultations will be made available through the Department's website and the Aged Care Engagement Hub.
I will now hand to Thea to provide a strategic overview. Thank you.
Thanks very much Eleanor. We've just heard from Katie and Eleanor about how we're improving provider transparency. This is just one of many initiatives already in place or underway to improve the quality of care for older people in Australia and to make aged care equitable, sustainable and trusted.
Next I'm going to share with you a high-level overview of our plan for transforming aged care.
Firstly I'll mention some of the positive things that we've already achieved together over the past 12 months. You can see a lot of them on screen now. I'll call out just a few. We've introduced Star Ratings, capped fees for home care packages, additional quality indicators, a new Code of Conduct for aged care, a new Government Provider Management System which we're talking about today, to make it easier for providers to access and report information.
In the recent Budget, the Government demonstrated its ongoing commitment to restoring dignity to aged care with a $36 billion Budget package for '23-'24 financial year. This allows us to continue delivering current programs, as well as investing in policy areas.
Our plan for transforming aged care covers a lot of ground over the next two years. We need vision and clarity to deliver the care we want for all older people in Australia wherever they are and whatever their needs. We've recently released a Reform Roadmap to show our high-level plan and to help everyone understand the key steps we need to take and the positive actions already underway. The plan places older people at the heart of all that we do. We also want to make sure that aged care is equitable, sustainable and trusted in doing that.
We're improving aged care for those using it right now, as I've mentioned through those initiatives highlighted, and we're also transforming it for the changing needs of the future. To do that effectively we've been working with the sector, listening to their feedback and really supporting them through our approach, forums and materials and we'll continue to do that. The Reform Roadmap aims to help the sector navigate the changes across aged care, to have a clear view of what's coming, get involved and prepare for the changes ahead.
So on this next slide, I'll highlight a few priority initiatives through to June 2024. Obviously a 15% wage increase for many aged care workers with effect from tomorrow, 24/7 nursing in aged care same timeframe, mandated Care Minutes in October and then increasing again in October next year, publication of residential providers' financial information, recruiting up to 13,000 new personal care workers, and residential aged care places assigned to people.
From July 2024 to June 2025, we'll commence the new single-assessment system, introduce the new Aged Care Act in 2024, subject of course to Parliamentary processes. This timing is intentional. We do want to be able to phase in anything that may come from the Aged Care Taskforce that has met once and will meet over the next six months and report to government in an interim way in October and then with a final report in December this year.
The cornerstone of the new Act is going to be a Statement of Rights which is a significant shift. The new Act will be underpinned by relevant international conventions. We'll also commence the new Support at Home Program from 1 July 2025.
What I'll do now is just display the full roadmap. What you saw previously was a high-level version. This document looks busy and it is busy but it actually doesn't show everything that we have on underway. The full Reform Roadmap on the next two slides does show activities from October '22 to July '25, key activities. We know it's difficult to read here but you can find a copy on the Health website and the QR code on the screen will take you directly to the webpage.
It's important to note the roadmap is a point-in-time overview that shows the priority projects and initiatives that we need to deliver against Royal Commission recommendations. It's intended to help the sector navigate changes so they have a clear view of what changes are coming, how they can get involved and how they can get help to prepare for them.
So to do that there are two sections to the Reform Roadmap. The top half shows aged care changes and initiatives. It includes indicative dates as start dates for projects and due dates for reporting and when things will be published. The bottom half lists readiness activities. These are the dates of stakeholder consultations, webinars, other planned events so that providers, older people, their families and carers can get involved in the things that really matter to them.
As I said it's important to note the items on the Reform Roadmap just relate to key reform changes and it doesn't show all of the projects and initiatives underway. Many other activities can be found on the Department's website, and we'll also communicate these directly to impacted stakeholders.
I also want to point out that a reform of this size has many moving parts and so some dates will certainly change. If this happens we will let you know through the Your Aged Care Update newsletter which we've been plugging throughout this webinar. You can subscribe to that through the Aged Care Engagement Hub on the Health and Aged Care website.
I encourage you to have a look at the full Reform rRoadmap and continue to get involved through activities and forums like this. Thank you again for coming along.
I'll now hand back to Katie for the Q and A session.
That was very informative. And you can see that there's lots going on but there's been a lot of progress made too, a lot of things and changes have been delivered.
So, we've had quite a few questions already which is great, and I'm just going to scroll through those. The team behind the scenes have been answering lots of them very diligently, so thank you for that. So a few themes coming through as well. So I'll just try and pick up the first one that hasn't been answered by the team.
Okay. Here's a good one.
Q: What are the consequences if we do not submit provider operations reporting by the 31st of October?
So that's a good question. So this is a first. It's a very important measure. We know from the Royal Commission recommendations and the final report that the Commissioners were very clear of the strong link between strong governance of an organisation and quality, safe services. So, it's a very important link and they made a series of recommendations about governance to help strengthen and encourage providers in the aged care system.
So it's fair to say I don't think that the world will end for an organisation on the 1st of November if all of that reporting has not arrived. We're very keen as a department to work with providers to understand what might be happening there. We will have staff available to answer questions prior to the 31st of October cut-off date and we're very keen to work with providers in advance. So if you're a provider having difficulty please reach out in advance. And there's a lot of information that is now available on the website and will continue to be available in terms of resources to help you with that.
So I hope that provides some reassurance. And it is a change. It is a first. So we're all on this journey together.
Okay. So let's have a look.
The team is too quick in answering some of these.
There was a question about the signing of the Form. I'm just trying to find that one so I can do it justice and read it out.
It's about the actual signing of the Form for the attestation. So I can't quite find that question but I know it was there.
So the answer to that is the governing body member makes the signed statement via the administrator downloading a printed version of the Form and then the governing member can read the Form in full, sign it. Then there'll be a scan done of that form and upload it back to the Collection Form on GPMS.
I hope that's answered that one for you.
Q: Can the Department please share its evidence on how diversity on a provider's governing body improves quality and safety in aged care?
So that's one for my area. I'm happy to take that one.
I think it's very clear from the Royal Commission's final report the importance of diversity, and our communities are made up of a set of diverse communities. We're not a homogenous community. And it is very important both from a service quality and indeed a safety perspective for governing bodies to reflect their communities. So that's the principle and the rationale behind the Royal Commission's recommendations and that's the principle that underpins the reforms.
Okay. I'm really wanting to give Thea and El a question here but ...
I've spotted one Katie if you'd like me to read it out. It's a GPMS question.
Q: When the Department communicated about the GPMS it positioned it as a streamlined provider reporting option but all it's done, at least for home care providers, is added yet another system and portal for reporting. We already have the MAC portal, PRODA online forms and so there's no streamlining.
That's a fair point. And so in response to that I will say that modernising the aged care system is obviously not a small undertaking. It does require planning and improvements, iterating over time.
Typically for IT reform, it's a risky proposition to switch off a channel and switch on a channel without having a transition arrangement. So what we are doing is using old and new platforms concurrently to meet provider regulatory obligations. So the first releases of GPMS included applications for reporting of the Star Ratings for residential aged care providers, and the next releases will include quality indicators, approved provider operations which we are talking about today, as well as reporting for 24/7 nursing.
We are working on future updates that will improve and expand the functionality of GPMS. And so over time GPMS will deliver a single portal and streamlined experience for aged care providers across residential and home care services to exchange information with government.
That's great Thea. Thank you.
I'm doing a refresh here to make sure that we've got ...
Katie I can see one there for me if you like, if you're happy for me to jump in.
Good. Yes. Please do El.
Q: Aged care providers already need to report on a range of matters. Will the Dollars Going to Care measure increase the reporting burden for aged care providers?
That's a great question. The answer is no. The Dollars to Care measure doesn't impose any new reporting requirements for providers because it relies on information that we do already collect under existing reporting obligations through the ACFR and the QFR.
I can see a question there. Sorry to jump in.
Q: Will the ACFR be submitted through the GPMS this year?
No. The ACFR form will not be migrated onto GPMS this year, but it is part of the work that we have in train to migrate reporting onto GPMS in the future.
Thanks El. There's another one here for me.
Q: In relation to the makeup of governing body and the level of independent members etcetera, when will the process be released to request exemption from this specific requirement?
So that's not actually part of this reform. But you're talking to the right people so I'm very happy to talk about that too for you.
So the reforms that happened last year to governing body membership, they were applicable to new approved providers from the 1st of December last year and to existing approved providers from the 1st of December this year. So those changes there's information about that on the website.
And, in addition, I really refer you and encourage you to have a look at the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission website who have got a number of resources in this area as well. So we can certainly provide a link to those, perhaps if the team are fast enough through the chat here today, otherwise we'll make sure that we include that reference in any follow-up.
Here's one for you El.
I don't think that's been answered.
Q: Can you say again what new information will be published on My Aged Care as part of the Dollars Going to Care reporting? I blinked and missed it.
Sure. No problem Katie. Thank you.
The final list of information to be published is yet to be finalised but it will include both information that the Secretary must publish, as well as information the Secretary may choose to publish. Subordinate legislation setting out what information must be published has been enacted. And included in that is information in relation to, for each financial year for residential services, information on income, expenditure on care including labour costs, catering, maintenance, cleaning and laundry, administration and profits or losses for the service.
Thanks El. I've got one for you Thea.
Q: The aged care reform activity slide - I think the person's referring to the roadmap - in the pdf form is busy and not easy to understand. Would appreciate a more detailed slide over multiple pages. Can you share a comment on that for us?
Yeah. Thanks for the feedback. So we'll do that for future presentations. I will mention the pdf is intended to be a visual guide and I know it's a little hard to read on screen but we can certainly try to make it clearer.
We do have other formats on the Department's website available now, including links to further information for each of the projects that are set out on the roadmap, as well as downloadable versions. So that's a single source of truth and point of reference for the sector. So I really do encourage you to hop online and get interactive with the roadmap rather than just relying on the pdf but we'll definitely look to improve the layout for future presentations. So thank you.
Thanks Thea. Here's one for me.
Q: Do all of the responses have to be for each individual aged care service rather than the organisation as a whole?
And the answer to that is yes it is a service response but there's scope for you to consider the provider. The recommendations from the Royal Commission do talk about a service response. So we've taken that approach for now in terms of that reporting.
It looks like there's another one for me.
Q: What is the expectation for ACCOs around the diversity sections?
So diversity is very broad. I would say that's my response to that. And yes unless you have an exemption from reporting, then there is an expectation that you would have diverse representation on your governing body. It's not a requirement as such but we're asking you to report on it where people are comfortable to do so.
It looks like a few of those have been answered.
Here's one for you Thea.
Q: How are GPMS and MAC provider portal related or are they entirely unrelated systems?
They are separate portals at the moment. But ultimately as I mentioned we are looking to migrate across to GPMS but before we can do that we do need to make sure that we've got our GPMS up and running. Our new reforms are going onto GPMS. MAC will continue for the time being.
Q: Can we have a copy of your slide and video from today?
I believe all of this information is going to be uploaded on our website so people will be able to access that again.
And there's one here for you El. I don't think we've answered this one yet.
Q: Regarding the financial information on residential aged care services published on My Aged Care, where are maintenance, cleaning costs and admin costs being collected from? I don't believe they appear on a QFR.
Thanks Katie. Those aspects of the Dollars Going to Care will be coming from the Aged Care Financial Report, so the annual report that providers submit.
So we've got a question here which is one of mine.
Q: Can someone please clarify what all this means for transition care program services? There's been a lot of talk of home care and residential care but what are we meant to be doing?
So the answer is that transition care providers will report on just those two things - I had a slide on that. So we're asking you to report on the most common kinds of feedback and complaints received by each service and your key improvements that you have made to service quality, and otherwise the information will be collected through your Transition Care Annual Accountability Report.
Another GPMS one Thea.
Q: Will there be a separate permission or role to complete the APO or everyone who is an organisation administrator will have access? Given how much we have now happening in GPMS and 24/7 nursing, this is something we need to manage with access as a provider.
Katie I will just double-check that. I'd hate to give the wrong information. So if you give me 30 seconds I'll get someone to help me with that one.
Sure. That might be a bit technical. I can do a - while you're doing that – Thea, I'll take a question for provider operations.
Q: Can you provide more information on home care service providers' reporting requirements, mainly on the three-principle guide on how the information will be published?
I might need to take some more guidance from the person who's submitted that one. I'm not sure I quite follow the question. So please feel free if you have submitted that question to submit it again and reframe it.
Katie I've got an answer on the permissions and roles to complete the APO question. So the question again was:
Q: Will there be a separate permission role to complete the APO or is everyone who is an org admin going to be given access? Given how much we have happening in GPMS list of reforms, this is something we need to manage with access as a provider.
There will be separate roles assigned by org admins and the user guides will set that out.
Another one for me.
Q: How will the Department review the information from providers in relation to key personnel and the overall governing body composition? Will the Department reject key personnel and/or governing body members if the Department considers them unsuitable?
So I think the distinction to make here is around the reporting and the transparency and the access to the information. So the Royal Commission recommendations were really based around people who are going to access aged care services, or their families and carers who might be helping them, for them to be able to have one point of access to all of that information.
So a lot of this information as we mentioned is already contained in annual reports of providers or reported to the Department separately. So the Royal Commission noted that and said it was very fragmented but if you're wanting to make really informed decisions about care and the best fit for you, you should really be able to access that in one entry point.
That’s the whole idea about pulling all of this information together and why we've gone to a lot of effort to pull information that you already give the Department, pull that from our collection sources. In my very untechnical language I call this harvesting the information we already have so we can present it back up in a public way so that all of the information is in the one spot.
So it's really about informing consumers around how you operate. It's not about the Department judging whether you've got the right composition or not. There are some specific requirements that were introduced in 2022 about membership. Particularly the clinical member who if you are a provider providing clinical services you must have someone with clinical expertise on your governing body.
So this notion of the Department rejecting it or not is not something the Department's going to do. But it's open to the consumer to reject that and make their own choice about 'Well this service is very diverse. It takes into account particular cultural matters in service delivery. I feel comfortable with that. I'm from a particular culture. I want to make sure that I feel welcomed and that I feel included and that I am not going to have any difficulties fitting into that service.' So that's really what it's about, rather than the Department scoring or judging.
Additionally of course it's a quality and safety measure from the Commission's perspective as the regulator that they do want to have particular information about key personnel and there's a separate process for reporting on that.
Okay. Let's see. Yes. Another couple of - here's one for you El.
Q: Whilst there is intense pressure to lower provider costs and publicly demonstrate this, how are increased compliances achieved within a model where providers are painted as greedy when we are required to increase prices to safely support aged care clients?
This really goes to I think the importance of transparency and how this information can be used by older Australians to inform decisions about a provider of choice. But it's not the only information that providers will use. They'll be able to access other information through star ratings for example or by contacting potential services for further information. I think the information on Dollars to Care can really provide an area where older Australians and their families may find things that they want to ask more questions about and to better understand them.
In terms of the context around this information, through our consultations we've heard that it is incredibly important that we do provide context around the financial information because, for example, having higher costs may not necessarily equal higher quality, higher care costs may be because there's a higher acuity in the residents in a certain facility. So it is important to provide context around that information to help older Australians and their families make those informed decisions, and we will certainly be working with consumers and also with the sector in the lead-up to launch to make sure we've got that contextual information there to support an understanding of the information we present.
Thanks El. Thea one for you.
Q: Your strategic overview assumes that retention and recruitment in the sector will meet targets. How will the Department measure if that goal is achieved?
I'll take myself off mute.
Yeah. Workforce is a challenge. We know this. We all know this.
In designing and scheduling reforms we do bear this in mind. But we do know it will be an ongoing challenge and we need to continue to work with the sector on it. Having said that we need to make a plan and this is our efforts based on the best information we have about the impact of our reforms.
So how we evaluate the success of the reforms is also critical and the need to recalibrate will also be ongoing. And so essentially this is our best information at the moment, but we are continually out there in the sector collecting information, including through initiatives like this, so that we can understand the impact that we're having and calibrate as we need to.
For example, in the most recent Budget you would have seen the Minister announce that the Support at Home reforms were going to be scheduled for 1 July 2025 rather than previously 1 July 2024 and that's in response to a recognition of the complexity and the challenges in the sector. So, as I said, this is the information that we have and we're very happy to be able to share it with you now but we we’ll adjust it as we need to going forward.
One for you El.
Q: For QFR why are labour costs required quarterly if care costs are not going to be used to report quarterly? Can we simply not report these in ACFR? Accruals, reversals and cost corrections from previous quarters can impact future quarter reporting.
Thanks Katie. We're still considering what information will be published quarterly, but in terms of labour costs, they may be included. And labour and care expenses that are reported quarterly are used for several purposes. For example, they flow through into star ratings reporting and they also inform our care minutes measurement. So that's really important for ensuring that providers are delivering their mandated care minutes under AN-ACC and also for monitoring the 24/7 nursing.
The information reported quarterly through the Quarterly Financial Report also helps us get a more up-to-date understanding of how the sector is performing so we can look at things like how profitability is tracking over time, more frequently than in our annual reporting, and it allows us to see that at both the sector level and also at the provider level.
I've got another one for you here.
Q: What is leading the Department to believe that the majority of older Australians will have the capacity to access the information in this manner?
Thanks Katie. That's a really important question and that is something we've been engaging with both our Council of Elders, and also the consumer reference group that advises the Department, throughout the course of the last year really when we started out on looking at how we could deliver this election commitment, and now as we're looking more closely to what will be published and how that will be presented.
Some of the feedback that we've heard is that it will be really important that this information does have the context around it to help older Australians and their families understand it, but that we will also need to look at other options that are not just web-based to make sure people can access this information. And we will be looking into that further over the course of the second half of this year.
Okay. Thanks El. And there's one here for me about transition of care I think.
Q: How will the TACP forms differ?
I'll just come back to you on that one.
The next one for me.
Q: Is the operations report required for each outlet of a home care provider or just one report for all outlets?
So the use of the terminology 'outlet', we're talking about services. So if one service has different outlets it would be one report for that service.
I'll try and go back up to the top. There we go. Another one for you El.
Q: In regards to the contextual information for Dollars Going to Care, will this mean providers having to provide additional information or reporting, or further new questions as part of the ACFR or QFR?
Thanks Katie. No we're not expecting to add any new questions to ACFR or QFR to provide the context. We are working with older Australians and through our My Aged Care delivery partner, we're working with the sector and independent experts to understand what sort of context would be useful and how to present that alongside the financial information we'll be presenting. So no it won't require additional effort from providers.
Okay. The next one's for me.
Q: How can a provider comply with gender diversity requirements without asking board members to identify themselves publicly?
That's a good question and I can just clarify. So it's not a diversity requirement. What the requirement is, is to report on the diversity that makes up your governing body and organisation. So, again, that has to be with the consent of the individual. And you would have seen from the video there's dropdowns to confirm that that's been obtained. So it's not compulsory but it's an opportunity to demonstrate to the community what the diversity is in your organisation.
I hope that's clarified that for you. I'll just scoot to the top.
I think I've answered that one or a very similar one.
Q: How will the department review the information from providers in relation to key personnel and the overall governing body composition?
Yes. I have answered that one. I don't know why that was highlighted.
Q: Will an FAQ publication be produced on the key topics?
Yes. There will be an FAQ for everybody on our website covering what we have discussed today. And there's our team saying it's going to be available soon.
We've had really good engagement. We've had 62 questions in total by the looks. So that's great.
Another question for me, provider operations.
Q: So would it be accurate to say that this exercise is to gather and publish provider information and, if so, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will enforce governing body composition and structure?
So I guess I'd probably return to some of that other commentary that I had around what the requirements are and communication on reporting those requirements. We talked about the governing body composition, with those particular requirements coming into force from 1 December last year and 1 December this year. And certainly it's an obligation. It is a requirement. If you are operating a service with a clinical function then you do need to have someone with clinical expertise on your governing body.
The reports that will be done and available on My Aged Care, they're publicly available. The Commission will obviously be interested in any information about providers as well. And if there are issues there then the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission as the end-to-end regulator for aged care will of course be interested in that and take those issues up where there is an obligation and a requirement for providers to comply.
Thanks to the team, you've answered a question there about transition care.
Katie I'll just acknowledge a comment that's just come through.
Q: Feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. There is a lot going on, a lot to be across and a lot of new processes to implement and sustain.
And I'm sure that will be voted up by people on that little thumbs-up button. There is a lot going on, and certainly by participating in forums like this you're doing your bit to start to get across it.
Please visit the Engagement Hub. There's lots of really useful information there. We've also got our state and territory network offices who are there to provide outreach to providers who feel that they need some more assistance in relation to grappling with the reforms. I don't know that we have anyone from the network on this particular call but I'm very happy to alert them to this and if you'd like to reach out to me directly we can put you in touch with someone who can help you a little bit more. Especially - although it's getting voted up, so we might find that this is a general comment.
Certainly there are a lot of resources to help you. If you feel like the resources are not hitting the mark, please let us know through the Engagement Hub and we'll do what we can to tailor them.
I think the publication of the roadmap is good and bad, in that it does give you a sense of what's in the pipeline and when, but equally there is a lot in the pipeline. We're doing our bit as I mentioned to stage it in a logical way, but we are conscious also that we've got an obligation to meet Royal Commission recommendations, we all do. And we all want to do everything that we can in a reasonable timeframe to deliver on all of those really important improvements to the quality of care, while also having an eye to the sustainability of the sector and the capacity to implement these reforms. So thank you for your comment.
Here's another one for me I think. I think we can all answer this though.
Q: Do you include in your consultation or working groups anyone from a culturally and linguistically diverse background?
And the answer is yes. So we certainly do. We've got a sector reference group in the Department and a consumer reference group. There's representation from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds in those groups, as well as representation - we've done some user testing earlier this year and we had organisations who delivered to culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
So, Thea did you want to comment on that as well?
Yeah. So my team supports the Aged Care Council of Elders and we have some fantastic members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including First Nations backgrounds on that Council of Elders, as well as our National Aged Care Advisory Council. Both of those councils report directly to the Minister after their meetings each month, or six weeks, on topical issues like this, and include views from members of culturally and linguistically diverse groups, geographically across Australia, as well as First Nations representatives.
And El did you have anything extra to add there? I know you've used the sector reference group and consumer reference groups too, as well as NACAC and the Council of Elders.
That's right. Thanks Katie. Nothing to add from me.
One here for me.
Q: Can you clarify if the governing body is the board or the executive team?
That's a good question because a lot of that terminology is kind of thrown about. So the governing body is the board. Sometimes, depending on the makeup of the organisation, you might call it the management committee or board of management. In the legislation we had to stick to a single term and descriptor and the very specialist experts who draft legislation for the government chose 'governing body' as the appropriate terminology. So the governing body is the board or management committee and it's not the executive team. So the executive team are employed by the organisation.
Q: How will the Department know what response is for home care providers and the other for residential when the information is combined?
I think that's a good one to put in an FAQ for you because there will be some providers - or there are some providers in that boat. But the form is very easy to follow. I appreciate the video moved at a particular pace that we've had to use for the webinar today but you'll be able to take a look at that before you need to fill the information in through the Collection Form.
There will be a manual available. There's a question here about:
Q: If you're unsure about how to answer a question is there a support email available if we cannot find ...
Yeah. Look our team has jumped in there with all of the detail and an email address for you and a helpline.
Q: Is there a clear definition as to what cultural safety means? Are providers familiar with this? How will it be monitored?
The user manual and the FAQs - yes. Thank you. The team's jumped in there. So, there'll be information about that available, just as there is in that answer that's been typed in.
I'm just mindful of the time. It's 3:16 Thea. We seem to have possibly exhausted our participants' questions. We've had 72 which is great.
I'm just wondering if we think that we might move to wrap things up. I certainly don't want to hurry anyone off if you've got a burning question there.
Well why don't I start to wrap up and we'll just keep an eye to see if there's one last question that pops up but I suspect that we've probably answered quite a few today. That's been a great effort. Thanks Katie. Thanks Eleanor.
If you have had a question that perhaps has slipped through in this long list of 72, which is possible, or didn't quite get through moderation in time, we will develop answers to all the questions submitted and we'll publish these on our website. In the event that we missed yours, that will be included. We'll send you the link to the resources that were included in the webinar today and there's a couple of QR codes there for you as well. That will all happen in the coming weeks if not days, although I note that it's a Friday.
I'd like to remind all providers before we close about a few important changes coming up to their reporting requirements using the new GPMS system. As mentioned, GPMS already has residential aged care providers using the GPMS Star Ratings application to access the Star Ratings preview that was launched in April 2023. There are some of you, not many, that haven't yet accessed GPMS from residential aged care services. So please avail yourselves of that access that you have already been provided with for the Star Ratings previews. In July, the new applications as we discussed today will be released on GPMS, including not only provider operations but also quality indicators and 24/7 registered nursing reporting.
If you do need help there's been plenty of links provided today, but please don't hesitate to follow up through the helpline that was posted in response to some of the questions if you have any further questions. But also make sure once again that you subscribe to Your Aged Care Update, our weekly newsletter, through the Engagement Hub. Lots of terrific resources on the Engagement Hub.
I will encourage you to stay on if you can avail yourselves of a few minutes when the webinar finishes to take a short survey that will pop up in your browser. It takes about one minute to answer the three questions and we'd really appreciate your feedback so that we can better communicate with you on the reforms. Thank you all for your time and happy new financial year.
[Closing visual of slide with text saying 'Stay in touch', 'Subscribe to the aged care sector newsletters and alerts to stay up to date with news for the aged care sector' with accompanying QR code, 'The Aged Care Engagement Hub provides regular updates on upcoming consultations and opportunities to be involved in the aged care reforms' with accompanying QR code, and a speaker visible on the right-hand side of the screen]
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