Aged care financial reporting webinar – July 2024

This webinar supports aged care providers with their regulatory reporting requirements. It highlighted some key changes to upcoming Quarterly Financial Report and the Aged Care Financial Report 2023–24 data collections.

Audience:
Health sector
Webinar date:
to
Webinar Link:
52:16:00

[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Aged care financial reporting’, ‘Webinar’, ‘9 July 2024’, ‘agedcareengagement.health.gov.au’]

[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker presenting in turn via video, with reference to the content of a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen]

Jessica Evans:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Recent and upcoming publications’, ‘Jessica Evans’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Market Intelligence Branch’]

Good afternoon everyone. I’ll kick us off today. Thank you so much for attending today’s webinar. My name is Jessica Evans. I’m the Assistant Secretary of the Market Intelligence Branch within the Department of Health and Aged Care and I’ll be chairing this event.

I’d like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we are virtually meeting today. I’m based in Canberra on the lands of the Ngunnawal people. I acknowledge and pay respect to their continuing culture and the contribution they make to this region. I extend that acknowledgment and respect to other families with a connection to this region and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people that are here with us today.

In terms of housekeeping we’ll have 30 minutes for questions at the end of this webinar. There’s no option for attendees to turn on their video or microphone so please ask your questions in the Slido box which is on the right hand side of your screen and we’ll aim to answer as many questions as possible. All questions and answers, including those that we don’t get to today, will be published on our website, and we have these webinar slides available on our website and the session will also be recorded and published in the following days.

So today’s webinar, the Aged Care Financial Reporting webinar, is one in a series of webinars that are held quarterly. The series is designed to give visibility and guidance on reporting changes or difficulties that are being experienced as part of the Aged Care Financial Reporting. Today the webinar will provide an overview on how the data that is collected through the Quarterly Financial Report and the Aged Care Financial Report is used for various publications. We’ll also give guidance on some of the common questions and errors that have arisen in the financial reporting processes and we’ll talk through upcoming changes on the future Aged Care Financial Report. And then we’ll finish with about half an hour of questions and answers.

Our next webinar will be held on the 9th of September and the primary focus will be on the Aged Care Financial Report as it will soon be due, along with feedback on areas or questions that we’ve received over this period. So it’s useful to know that the target audience for these webinars is staff who actually undertake the reporting for the Aged Care Financial Report or the Quarterly Financial Report. So they’re accounting managers or CFOs. And lastly feedback is always welcome to improve these webinars and there will be some questions at the end of today where you can provide feedback.

All right. Great. So to begin I’ll take you through some of the recent publications that the Department has produced where we’ve used data that’s submitted through the Quarterly Financial Report and the Aged Care Financial Report. We’ve previously received some questions in this series asking for advice or information about what happens with the information and where can providers go to get an understanding of the financial performance of the sector.

So most recently three resources have been released. The first is the Quarterly Financial Snapshot and that was released for the Quarter 2 of 23-24 and it was published on the 21st of June. An email was sent to providers with a link to that report. And the snapshot provides information on the financial performance of the aged care sector and includes analysis across both residential and home care. The report showed that for the first half of ’23 the financial position of the residential aged care sector had improved significantly in comparison with the same quarter in the previous year. And for home care the sector had continued to perform well. It showed that 65% of residential care providers had reported a profit and 76% of home care package program providers reported a profit.

It also showed and not surprisingly for the providers on the line that expenses had grown by around 12% which was largely due to the increase in the award wages but at the same time revenue had increased by 22%. In terms of care minutes the report provides an overview on how the sector is tracking to meet the mandatory care minutes and showed that the sector average had increased by almost 3% from the previous quarter and it’s now sitting at around 202 care minutes. However interesting to know that 48% of facilities are reporting below the 200 care minute target.

So this snapshot is produced quarterly and covers a range of information around financial performance, food and nutrition, care minutes, and that covers both residential and home care.

The second publication that the information from the QFR and ACFR has gone into is the publication of finance and operations information on My Aged Care. And information from Quarter 2 of the Quarterly Financial Report was recently uploaded and updated on My Aged Care and my colleague Kate Stewart will show you some of the further details around this publication because it has been an area we’ve received questions and we think it would be useful to give some clarity around how that data flows through.

And then finally the most recent publication is the Aged Care Wages Attestation Report which was also published on the 21st of June and shows providers that have attested that they passed on the funding in support of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase minimum award rates for aged care workers.

In terms of upcoming publications the next will be the Financial Report on the Australian Aged Care Sector. So this draws on information from the 22-23 Aged Care Financial Report and is a significant report on both home care and residential, on the state of the financial performance of the sector, but also provides providers with an opportunity to benchmark their own performance against sector averages. And that will be published in the coming weeks.

I’ll now hand over to my colleague Kate Stewart who will be able to give some more information on how the information that is collected through the Quarterly Financial Report and the Aged Care Financial Report is published on My Aged Care and what you can expect in terms of timeframes and opportunities to review that information. Thanks Kate.

Kate Stewart:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Dollars Going to Care’, ‘Kate Stewart’, ‘Director’, ‘Finance Reporting Operations Section’]

Thanks Jess. Finance and operations information of aged care providers was published for the first time on My Aged Care Find a Provider website in February 2024 using annual information from the 22-23 Aged Care Financial Report and quarterly information from the July to September 2023 Quarterly Financial Report which we refer to as Quarter 1 financial data. The information on My Aged Care is updated to show Quarterly Financial Report data with Quarter 2 or the October to December 2023 QFR data recently being published in June.

There will be another update to reflect Quarter 3 or the January to March 2024 QFR data shortly. Prior to the publication you will have the ability to preview the data in the Government Provider Management System or GPMS. The preview period for Quarter 3 data is tentatively scheduled to commence on 30th of July with publication on My Aged Care to occur in mid-August. Further information regarding the next preview period will be communicated in the coming weeks.

Note that your 22-23 Aged Care Financial Report data will continue to be published on My Aged Care until February 2025. It is then that the data will be updated with your 23-24 financial year ACFR data. Information from the provider operations collection form is also updated annually on My Aged Care. I hope this information resolves some of the confusion that providers have had regarding which period of data is displayed.

I also wanted to clarify which information is published on My Aged Care using the annual or ACFR data versus the quarterly or QFR data. For residential providers annual data is used for the expenses, income and surplus deficit data on the finance and operations tab. Quarterly data is used in a number of different places. The expenditure on food and meals appears on the overview tab, the hourly wage rates for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers is on the staffing tab, and there is also quarterly data on how much expenditure was spent on care staff at the bottom of the finance and operations tab underneath the annual data.

For home care providers all of the QFR and ACFR data is displayed on the finance and operations tab. Annual data is used for expenditure, income and surplus deficit and quarterly data is used for the average pay rate for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and home care workers. I’ll hand back now to Jess.

Jessica Evans:

Thanks Kate for clarifying. And I did just want to comment that we understand when the information goes out to providers to preview what is published on My Aged Care we understand there has been confusion because some of the information hasn’t been updated because that’s drawn through from the Aged Care Financial Report which is updated annually, whereas other information comes from the Quarterly Financial Report and that is the information that will have changed. So we wanted to provide that guidance to hopefully make the publication period easy to understand and for providers to know what they’re looking at.

Okay. So for the Quarterly Financial Report the QFR has now been in place for almost two years. In this time we have included a few additional reporting elements. So wage reporting, wage attestation and outbreak management. We’ve changed the way the quality assurance process happens from the Department’s end which has resulted in some providers receiving additional contact from either the Helpdesk or from the Department to clarify information that has been submitted. We’ve moved the report to a new Government Provider Management System and we have completed a user experience survey and interviews and we’ll be able to give some feedback from those today.

I’d like to ask Jarrod Bowd from my team to talk through the data quality assurance processes that we’ve introduced as well as some of the common difficulties that have been experienced since the QFR was introduced and to talk you through some of the upcoming changes that can be expected for the Quarterly Financial Report. Over to you Jarrod. Thank you.

Jarrod Bowd:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR’, ‘1. Data quality assurance’, ‘2. Tip sheet’, ‘3. Upcoming changes’, ‘Jarrod Bowd’, ‘Director’, ‘Financial Reporting and Analysis Section’]

Thanks Jess. I’d like to begin by covering the Department’s approach to data quality assurance processes for the QFR. Accurate and reliable QFR data gives the Department and Government confidence to set effective policy program and funding settings. We have placed great emphasis on data quality assurance in the early years post introduction of the QFR in order to set a high benchmark of accurate reporting moving forward.

Many providers were contacted per submission of their third quarter data to verify information. In particular a high number of providers were contacted about extreme outlier data for either hourly wages or per resident per day food and ingredient expenditure.

The Department appreciates the time invested by providers in both verifying correct data or resubmitting revised data. At the conclusion of the reasonableness checks we saw the number of outlier data significantly decrease which is great to see.

As Kate mentioned earlier on we commenced publishing financial and operational data of providers on My Aged Care’s Find a Provider tool in February. Since publication the media have highlighted several instances of incorrect data. The reasonableness checks forms administration and KPMG undertake on behalf of the Department aim to assist providers rectify clear errors that might otherwise compromise how your organisation appears to both current and prospective care residents.

The checks also strengthen data accuracy allowing for greater reliability of sector wide results which in turn benefits providers with benchmarking their performance. For the fourth quarter you’ll see a continued focus on data quality assurance but we’ve made some adjustments to ensure the assurance is both proportionate and accounts for intelligence gathered from previous reasonableness checks. Please remember that if you’re in doubt with what you’re submitting you can contact forms administration prior to obtaining a director’s declaration to review your input to mitigate against the need for the director’s declaration to be signed multiple times.

Please also note that the declaration does not need to be re-signed when the data in the QFR does not change in a resubmission and a valid explanation of a variance is provided by the provider.

Lastly we welcome suggestions on ways we can streamline data quality assurance processes to reduce the impact on providers from having to review and potentially resubmit data. We have created a new email address for suggestions. ACFRQFRqueries@health.gov.au.

We’re also keen to discuss suggestions verbally as context is important for understanding. If you’d like to discuss over the phone please advise when sending through your initial email.

The next two slides show common difficulties that come up in the quality assurance process.

We’ve seen the number of providers with extreme outlier data for hourly wage rates and per resident per day food and ingredients expenditure drop since we increased the assurance activity in the last couple of months. Nevertheless we suspect that some providers may still be making one or more of the mistakes on the slide.

Hourly wage data in particular has had a large number of providers well above sector medians. These providers who may not have been contacted post Quarter 3 to verify their data as they weren’t judged to be an extreme outlier are likely to be contacted for Quarter 4 as we look to tighten hourly wage reporting so that providers who have reported correctly are not disadvantaged against competitors who have reported incorrectly.

For further guidance on hourly wage reporting please refer to the presentation provided by my colleague Mitch Docking in a previous webinar in April which can be found on our QFR resources page which I’ll cover in a later slide today.

In terms of the Quarterly Financial Statement section data needs to be year to date. We often see providers particularly home care providers who after three quarters might report a figure similar to one for one quarter’s performance. Once we contact that provider we find out from that provider in a lot of instances that they’ve only just reported the one quarter. So where possible make sure I guess it’s reporting for the year to date expenditure.

For the labour costs and hours section the reporting payroll period difference is one that comes up often for residential care providers and does impact care minute results.

Reporting of allied health is another area we see variable data quality. We suspect this may be because many allied health services are outsourced to a third party to provide. Where possible please remember to obtain sufficient documentation to show how hours and amounts are charged.

I’d now like to hand over to Aden Pulford who will speak about common reporting issues we have seen in care time reporting.

Aden Pulford:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Care time reporting’, ‘Aden Pulford’, ‘Acting Director’, ‘Residential Care Funding Reform’, ‘Home and Residential Division’]

Thanks Jarrod. The care time reporting assessments program undertakes work reviewing the accuracy of the direct and indirect care hours components of the QFR and the accuracy of the RN 24/7 report. This involves soliciting source documents from providers to assess the accuracy of individual reports.

In our care time reporting assessments program we have identified a number of errors that are commonly made in the preparation of the direct and indirect care hours components of the QFR. This includes not apportioning a staff member’s time between direct and indirect care in line with their duties. If a staff member has both direct and non-direct care responsibilities then their reported time must be split in line with this. This also includes incorrectly categorising staff. Staff must be allocated to the QFR category that is consistent with their employment. The most common error is allocating non-PCW staff to the PCW columns.

In addition to this we observed providers incorrectly measuring shifts that are included towards the reports. Normally errors that arise are due to payroll data that does not align with the reporting requirements. This could include structures for the reports that double count overtime or include time from outside the reporting period.

Finally there’s also unreported absences. This largely relates to the 24/7 registered nurse report but we thought we’d take this opportunity to provide feedback in this forum as well. We’ve noted reports that did not report absences that were reflected in the payroll data. We understand that identifying absences among payroll information is challenging so the Department is about to release a tool to support providers in identifying this continuity in their registered nurse coverage. We have identified examples where staff that were not on site and were not on duty were included in the reported care time or counted towards the registered nurse 24/7 responsibility. For both responsibilities only staff that are on site and on duty can contribute to the reported coverage. I’ll now pass back to Jarrod.

Jarrod Bowd:

Thanks Aden.

The Quarter 4 23-24 QFR portal is currently open with reporting due by the 4th of August. There are two changes. Firstly there are updates to definitions around direct care workers and allied health professionals. The updated definitions apply for allied health except for allied health assistants to clarify that support provided through virtual telehealth can contribute towards care costs. For registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care workers and assistants in nursing only hours delivered on site can contribute.

Secondly, the second change, outbreak management expense reporting has been introduced for the fourth quarter.

In terms of wage attestation the Department acknowledges the pay increase occurred in July 2023 however please continue to answer the question on whether you implemented that pay increase.

Please also note that there are no anticipated changes at this stage to the first quarter of 24-25.

Now to reporting on outbreak management expenses. We presented on the new reporting that has commenced for Quarter 4 in the last webinar and we see great value in covering it again today.

Reported expenditure will inform future supports for outbreak management including the aged care outbreak management supplement. You can access further information on the supplement by scanning the QR code.

There are a few things to remember with outbreak management expense reporting. Number one, it’s the first quarter outbreak management expenses have been included in the QFR. We appreciate it may take some providers time to adjust to work out their expenditure and their reporting. We’re asking providers to give their best estimate this quarter based on a rationale where existing reporting does not capture and incorporate capturing this data for future quarters. Outbreak management has been an area in the spotlight over the past four years since COVID‑19 so we assume most providers have data available at this stage on outbreaks beyond just COVID-19 but we do understand that there will be transition to make for this reporting.

Number two. Outbreak management expenditure reporting is only required for residential aged care providers.

Number three. An outbreak doesn’t need to have occurred in a reporting quarter for expenditure still to have accrued in that same reporting quarter. We expect providers frequently spend money to plan for outbreaks including purchasing equipment.

Number four. A disease outbreak is the occurrence of cases of disease in excess of what would normally be expected in a defined community, geographical area or season. It extends beyond just COVID-19. Please refer to the frequently asked questions for the QFR for further guidance.

This slide captures the changes in more detail.

In the residential viability form there is a new question which asks has your organisation had outbreaks in this reporting period. You can either select yes or no. If yes please select the type of outbreak that occurred with the dropdown selection allowing for multiple choices.

Government providers do not need to complete this section. It will not be visible in their form.

A new subsection within the residential care labour costs and hours form asks for a breakdown of outbreak management expenses. All residential care providers need to complete this section.

Please don’t reduce the direct care labour costs for RNs, ENs, PCWs etcetera by the amounts disclosed in this section. It is a freestanding dataset and you did not have to make it add to a total expense unlike the ACFR.

Lastly given it will be the first quarter reporting on this dimension we expect that difficulties will arise for providers in reporting outbreak management. As such time will be dedicated in the 9th of September webinar to cover common problems identified to assist providers with reporting for the first quarter of 24-25.

Resources for Quarter 4 23-24 and Quarter 1 24-25 QFR is now available on the Department’s website. This includes the residential labour costs and hours validation guide. These resources are intended to supplement the information we have available in our FAQ document and the support available through the free Helpdesk service offered to help the collection process.

This slide provides a high level overview of the QFR support available for aged care providers. Please note that we have also created a new email address for general feedback to the Department on the QFR and ACFR.

I would now like to hand back to Kate Stewart who will present the results from the recent QFR user experience survey.

Kate Stewart:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR user experience survey’, ‘Kate Stewart’]

Thanks Jarrod. Following the Quarter 2 QFR submissions when you use the QFR application on GPMS for the first time we invited providers to participate in a survey on their experience with the new QFR application. We received 90 responses and thank those who took the time to complete the survey. When asked to rate the new QFR application on a scale of one to ten 89% of respondents rated the new QFR application as five or above which was really good to see.

For the other four questions we were pleased to see that most providers either agreed or strongly agreed with the statements. We understand that some providers initially had difficulty logging into GPMS for the first time and we hope that this is resolved now for the majority of providers. We also understand that if you need to access two different entities you need two different email addresses to log in which is a frustration. And we have provided this feedback to the GPMS team to investigate if there’s any way to improve this.

There were also some initial IT issues in the first quarter the QFR application on GPMS was used that we have worked to resolve. There was a field in the viability questions that required a minimum 50 characters which has been updated to remove this. We also acknowledge that there was a system change in February that changed the order of how the columns appear for you when you do your submission and this changed from the time you did your original submission which caused confusion. We apologise for that and we don’t expect to make changes like that during the submission process in the future.

The survey also indicated that many providers are using the resources available on the Department’s website. These resources have been provided to make the reporting process as easy as possible so I encourage you to make use of them. If there is anything that is unclear please reach out to the relevant help area for support or provide feedback to the Department on our new email address.

The Excel data upload was identified as a positive function by both survey respondents and providers who volunteered for a more detailed interview. A further thanks to those five providers who volunteered their time for the interviews which provided us with a greater understanding of how providers complete their QFR.

I would now like to hand back over to Jarrod who will provide an update on the ACFR.

Jarrod Bowd:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘2023-24 Aged Care Financial Report’, ‘Jarrod Bowd’]

Thanks Kate.

Providers will be able to complete the 23-24 ACFR from mid-August up until the 31st of October. A reminder that the forms administration portal is used for the ACFR unlike the QFR that uses the Government Provider Management System. Providers new to aged care who have only reported in GPMS please take the time to review communication material on accessing the forms administration portal.

We haven’t got a finalised date at this stage for the portal opening but you will receive communication shortly prior to the portal being opened along with on the date the portal is opened itself.

Guidance material for the ACFR will accompany the communication. In the meantime please email the Department on ACFRQFRqueries@health.gov.au for ACFR advice.

As mentioned by Kate earlier 23-24 ACFR data will flow through to My Aged Care’s Find a Provider tool in February ’25 so please take particular care when submitting data.

The following two slides show the changes for the 23-24 ACFR. At first glance the tables on both pages appear to contain a number of changes however the changes are minor and reflect updated definitions for clarity and additional requirements to reflect policy changes made in 23‑24.

For residential care providers there have been updates to definitions to align with the AN-ACC funding model. We have also updated the definition for direct care workers to align with QFR Quarter 4 23-24 definitions. Most administration expense definitions have been updated for clarity.

Outbreak management supplements which started in February this year should be included in care subsidies and supplement.

In the residential aged care income statement there is a new data item under hotel service income to capture hotel subsidies and supplement.

We’ll also seek additional details when the agreed accommodation price is greater than $550,000. Approval from the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority needs to be scanned and attached as part of the ACFR.

For home care providers the changes are minor and largely reflect revised program settings. We no longer seek data on exit amounts deducted as exit amounts haven’t been charged since the 1st of January 2023. We have also changed the definition to account for home care account balances which although came into effect in September 2021 hadn’t been reflected in the definitions in the last couple of ACFRs.

All of the changes in the table will also flow through at this stage to 24-25 reporting.

The webinar on the 9th of September will address the ACFR in greater detail once we start to see questions come through where greater clarity is sought.

Now to administration expenses. We recently conducted a review into administration expense reporting for residential aged care providers focusing on the new administration allocation percentages introduced from the 21-22 ACFR.

The review found that providers may be incorrectly or subjectively entering this data. For example providers are allocating 100% of administration expenses to care or reporting the same proportion consistently regardless of the nature of the expenses incurred.

To determine the administration allocation percentages providers should distribute administration expenses between care, hotel, accommodation and COVID-19 using a data driven approach. This would take into consideration the underlying drivers of administrative activity for the eight subcategories listed under the residential expenses section.

On this slide we have provided an example of how the insurance subcategory could be allocated between care, accommodation, hotel and COVID-19.

Firstly we would identify the expenses associated with the administrative expense subcategory. In our insurance example this could include professional indemnity, volunteers, public liability, rental property, building and contents and motor vehicle insurance. Secondly we would assess whether the insurance expense relates to care, accommodation, COVID-19, hotel or accommodation of these categories.

Thirdly we would allocate expenditure based on your assessment on step two. For example we could attribute 100% of building and contents insurance costs to accommodation whilst proportionately allocating professional indemnity insurance between care, accommodation and hotel based on the employee expenses incurred in these categories.

Finally once you have allocated out all of your administration expenses to care, hotel, accommodation and COVID-19 you can then divide each category’s total by the total administration costs to determine the administration allocation percentage attributed to each category that is reported in the ACFR. The Department recognises the difficulty in perfectly allocating administration expenses but we do ask that providers allocate based on reasonable data driven assumptions. They have increased scrutiny on the administration allocation through the data validation process this year. If you have any questions the QFR and ACFR Helpdesk can assist.

Now back to Jess to chair the panel discussion.

Jessica Evans:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Questions and Answers’]

Thanks Jarrod. And I would now like to welcome Aden, Kate and Jarrod for our questions and answers and panel discussion. We’ve got about 25 minutes left for questions. I’ll just remind people to use the Slido Q&A tool in the right hand side of the chat. We received a few pre-webinar questions that we will kick off with as these were submitted in advance. And we’ll cover those and then aim to get through as many as possible. So question one is a question for you Jarrod and it’s a good one as it’s come up a couple of times for us over the last few weeks. And it relates to the wage rates. So the question is:

Q:        Are the lowest average and highest wage data items based on a snapshot date, so for example the last date of the quarter, or over the entire quarter?

Can you provide clarity on that please?

Jarrod Bowd:

Yeah. Thanks Jess. I guess the initial intent when we first started this reporting was I guess over a quarter, over a period, however based on feedback that we’ve received from providers about the administrative I guess burden associated with trying to identify that with the last day of the quarter, it’s perfectly fine and we’ll be using the last day of the quarter. Very important though to consistently keep applying that. I guess the main thing with the wage reporting was to identify changes over time to see that changes were increasing. So where you use the last day of a quarter finding your average maximum and minimum, continue to do that each quarter. For those providers I guess that have previously been identifying over the quarter the average or the lowest continue to do so if you find that easy. But we’re probably looking for whatever you find easiest as a provider and I think in a lot of instances it’s the last day of a quarter which is an easy one to do.

Jessica Evans:

Thanks Jarrod. And while you have the spotlight I’m going to ask you two additional questions on outbreak management. So the first is:

Q:        Are we to supply data whether or not we have had an outbreak in the quarter or only if we’ve had an outbreak in the quarter?

Jarrod Bowd:

Yeah. Thanks Jess. There will still be some expenses accrued irrespective of whether or not an outbreak occurs in a quarter. I guess in a lot of instances the Department and Government would be looking at a lot of providers, residential care providers in this instance, to be doing a lot of training, purchasing equipment etcetera in anticipation of different outbreaks of different varieties. So an outbreak doesn’t need to have occurred in a particular quarter for a proprietor to have actually accrued expenditure on outbreak management without an outbreak actually occurring.

Jessica Evans:

Excellent. And as a follow up to that – you’ve touched on some of it – is:

Q:        Can training be included as a preventative cost? If there are no outbreaks what costs can we report on, such as waste, cleaning, laundry, above what is the norm?

Jarrod Bowd:

Yes. Definitely training. As mentioned just earlier, I guess training expenses that would be incurred as part of – although it’s business as usual, I guess it’s business as usual now looking at outbreaks. So any training etcetera should be reported. And I think with the examples – was it waste there Jess?

Jessica Evans:

Waste, cleaning and laundry.

Jarrod Bowd:

Yeah. Waste, cleaning and laundry. If you think of your own personal circumstances I guess you spend a bit of money with COVID and other different outbreaks. So yes we do expect that providers will be reporting that information.

Jessica Evans:

Great. Thanks Jarrod. Kate I’m going to go to some questions that have come through for your area. The question is:

Q:        We’ve noticed that staff ratings on the My Aged Care website in May ’24 were showing results from Quarter 1 from the QFR. Why is there such a long delay in updating the website?

And Kate before I go I’ll just clarify for people we’ve taken the question that says staff ratings and we’ve interpreted that as a general question around why is information that is submitted through QFR not I guess more timely updated on My Aged Care. So Kate if you can clarify that process for us.

Kate Stewart:

Yes. Thanks Jess. In May ’24 yes the QFR Quarter 1 data was still showing and this was the first time that we were updating the information with the new quarterly data. So it did take a bit longer than expected. But we are working on improving our processes. The QFR Quarter 2 data was updated in late June and we’re currently working towards updating the publication of Quarter 3 data. And as I outlined earlier we’re hoping to be able to preview that to you in the end of July and publish it in mid-August.

Jessica Evans:

Thanks Kate. And another one for you Kate.

Q:        What can providers do if they are concerned about errors in the report on the Government Provider Management System? 

Kate Stewart:

Yeah. Thanks Jess. I’ll take that to be a query about when a provider previews the information in GPMS prior to it being published on My Aged Care. So for the moment that would be your quarterly QFR information. And I’d suggest that what you need to do is to look back at your QFR data that you submitted. So look at your record of the data you submitted to see if it matches what is in that preview. If it doesn’t match please do contact the Department and we can look at if there’s an IT error that has caused it not to match. If the data does match and you’re concerned that you have entered your data incorrectly you can also contact the Department during that preview period and there will be an email address you can reply to when we provide you with comms about that preview period. And you need to outline what data you’re concerned about and why and the Department will work with you on that query.

Jessica Evans:

Thanks Kate. All right. Aden I’m going to go to you. There are two questions here for you. The first is in relation to the Quarterly Financial Report.

Q:        How should lifestyle and leisure be reported? Should it be reported under personal care workers or other?

Aden Pulford:

Thanks Jess. So lifestyle and leisure workers should not be reported as PCWs. They should be reported under the specific lifestyle and recreation hours expense sections of the QFR. And so to be reported as a PCW they need to be employed as a PCW under the relevant award or Enterprise Agreement. So this is something we check for as part of the reporting assessment process when we solicit those payroll documents back from an approved provider. And misstatement in this manner will overstate compliance with the care minute responsibility and can overstate the star rating of a service. So it’s something we look for actively and is something quite important.

Jessica Evans:

Excellent. Thank you. And in a similar vein for you Aden.

Q:        What action is going to be taken or would be taken against providers who inaccurately include non-direct care hours in care minutes such as including lifestyle and leisure in the nursing care minutes?

Aden Pulford:

Thanks. So in responding to misreporting the Department will pay regard to intent and significance. And so providers who misreport will be required to resubmit their data and their relevant public facing information about that specific service will be corrected. And deliberately misrepresenting performance against the care minute responsibility may lead to a referral to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission and depending on the facts of the case the Department’s fraud branch.

Jessica Evans:

Excellent. Thank you Aden. Very clear. A question that I’m happy to talk to is one that was also pre-submitted.

Q:        I’m curious to know if there is a possibility of accessing industry data through a dynamic API, so application programming interface. This could provide valuable insights for providers to understand their standing in comparison to industry benchmarks.

So I like this question and although there’s nothing at this point around accessing industry info through APIs the Government is funding a Business to Government project that seeks to establish an API between aged care providers and Government systems as well as other systems. So that would allow for the direct transmission of data. I think that is the first kind of step in this process, as well as by moving the Quarterly Financial Report onto our Government Provider Management System that allows us to start working towards an environment where we could allow for that direct transfer. So I think it is an improvement that we’d like to get to to help providers be able to do benchmarking against industry standards and those sorts of things. And I’d say we’re doing some of the early work now that will allow for that in the future but it’s not something that’s specifically being built on at the moment.

So other questions that we have. How are we going with questions team?

We’ve got one in relation to – okay. This is in relation to – that one’s been answered but there’s a couple here in relation to forms administration.

Q:        Is the forms administration ACFR system the same for prior years?

And yes it is the same as we have been using for prior years. I think the ACFR has increasing reporting requirements and a significant drain on provider resources. We do acknowledge the administrative burden that reporting does put on providers and I think part of that is looking at now that the Quarterly Financial Report has been introduced and we have the Aged Care Financial Report how we can streamline some of those particularly in the new kind of regulatory environment for aged care providers. So looking at how they can be streamlined but also that we are conscious of the administrative burden on providers.

We’ve got one for Aden.

Q:        We were required to submit payroll data for a care minute review about five months ago. Will we receive feedback in all cases or only if issues are identified?

Aden Pulford:

So in terms of if you’ll receive feedback in all cases, yes there is a finalisation letter in all cases. So I’d just like to apologise for the delay on that front. It’s a brand new program the Department’s been starting up and so there have been some teething issues in getting the assessments up to speed and at the throughput we’d like to be getting them to. And we’ve been trying to streamline the process there so that it’s less burdensome on approved providers when they’re engaging with the team undertaking those audits. And so yes you will receive feedback. Apologies for the delay and feel free to reach out to the person conducting the engagement to see where things are up to.

Jessica Evans:

Thank you Jarrod. Another question for Aden.

It relates to lifestyle and physio activities and why they are not included in star ratings. Is that something that you’d like to comment on?

Aden Pulford:

For sure. And I hope my connection’s stable enough at the moment. Please jump in if it’s not. So there were two parts to that question about the funding for the activity and its inclusion towards star ratings. So to clarify providers are funded to deliver lifestyle and physio services through AN‑ACC as part of the needs of the resident that are captured in that assessment and the funding associated with that. And so in terms of the star ratings front I’m not from that line area but we can pass on that feedback to the appropriate teams. Thank you.

Jessica Evans:

Thanks Aden.

Jarrod a question for you. This question is about the inclusion of outbreak management expenses for Quarter 4.

Q:        Is this expenses reporting requiring only for period April to June, so only for the quarter or year to date?

Jarrod Bowd:

Yeah. Good question. Only just for the quarter. So April, the 1st of April to the 30th of June 2024 inclusive. And obviously we do plan to have it I guess in the QFR moving forward so we will be capturing next quarter from the 1st of July 2024 to the 30th of September 2024.

Kate Stewart:

Yes. Hi Jess. Hi everyone. Sorry about that. Technology sometimes fails us. So I’m happy to take over as asking the questions. So let me just scroll up the screen.

So there is a question and it’s actually for me. It’s regarding:

Q:        Has anyone provided feedback regarding the wage ranges for the likes of RNs and ENs? By publishing the maximum rate individuals in our organisation are having their remuneration is made public and this has the potential to cause internal and privacy issues.

So we appreciate your comment on this. We are aware that this is an issue particularly for smaller providers and it is something we are trying to navigate at the moment. So if you do have concerns about the information published for your organisation and privacy concerns please do contact us on our email address and we will work with you on options regarding that.

There is a new question Aden. I think it’s for you regarding the care minutes model pack. This provider is having difficulty in compiling some of the data and wondering if they can reach out to a helpline or community group for discussion.

Aden Pulford:

Certainly. So in terms of seeking assistance and compiling the data and I guess discussing with the Department options there, you can certainly direct any queries to the assessor that reached out to you. There’s a shared mailbox that is outlined in the correspondence that will have been received if I can remember the address accurately enough to relay it here. But it’s in the correspondence and it’s also on the website. And so you can direct any questions to them. Generally speaking the information required in the model pack is information that would have been necessary to prepare the QFR. And so also going back to those records and what was used to prepare the QFR can be a helpful way of identifying the information that is available to answer that.

Kate Stewart:

Okay. Thanks Aden. And once again we do apologise for these technology issues. All of the questions that we receive we will be compiling them in a Q&A document and publishing that after the webinar. So you will still have access to all the questions and answers. 

Okay. I’m just looking through and I’m seeing that I think we have answered most of the questions. Jess I can see you nodding there. Are you right for us to wrap up?

Jessica Evans:

I think so. Given the line hasn’t been excellent for people and that we will be publishing responses to questions as well I think we will wrap up with three minutes to go and work on the advice out to providers on some of these questions. But I really want to thank everyone for dialling in. Our next session will be in September and in the meantime this webinar will be live, the questions and answers will be published and the slides are also available online. And would also like to thank my panel members as well.

Presenters

  • Jessica Evans – Assistant Secretary, Market Intelligence Branch, Department of Health and Aged Care (chair)
  • Jarrod Bowd – Director, Financial Reporting and Analysis Section, Department of Health and Aged Care (presenter)
  • Kate Stewart – Director, Financial Reporting Operations Section, Department of Health and Aged Care (presenter) 
  • Aden Pulford – Acting Director, Residential Care Funding Reform, Department of Health and Aged Care (presenter)

About the webinar

During this webinar, we:

Date published:
Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

If you would like a response please use the enquiries form instead.