Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Community Transport Pricing Pilot update

This webinar was for all CHSP transport providing providers to give an update on the CHSP Community Transport Pricing Pilot. The panel answered questions from the audience.

Audience:
Health sector
Webinar date:
to
Webinar Link:

Webinar recording

59:36

Presented by:

Moderator:

Felicity Benedetti

Director, CHSP and Continence Policy Section, Department of Health and Aged Care 

Speakers:

Murray Coates
Chief Executive Officer, Australian Community Transport Association

Martin Dempsey
Director, CHSP Program Section, Department of Health and Aged Care

[Opening visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) Community Transport Pricing Pilot update’, ‘28 March 2024’, ‘health.gov.au/our-work/CHSP-community-transport-pricing-pilot’, ‘28 March 2024’]

[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]

Felicity Benedetti:

Hi everyone and thank you for attending today’s webinar. I’m Felicity Benedetti from the Department of Health and Aged Care and I’ll be co-hosting today’s webinar with Martin Dempsey who’s the Director of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme Management Team and Murray Coates who’s the CEO of the Australian Community Transport Association.

I’d like to start off today by acknowledging the traditional owners and custodians of the lands on which we are virtually meeting today. Myself, Martin and Murray are all based in Canberra on the lands of the Ngunnawal and the Kambri people. I wish to acknowledge and respect the continuing culture and the contribution that they make to the life of this city and this region. I would also like to extend that acknowledgment and respect to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people here with us today.

For a bit of housekeeping as you will see attendees can’t turn on their videos or microphones however this session is going to be recorded and it will be uploaded onto the Department’s website along with the PowerPoint slides in the next few days. There will also be a question and answer session at the end of today’s webinar and you can start lodging your questions in the Slido box which is on the right hand side of your screen. So we will be attempting to answer as many questions as we can today but if we can’t get to every question we will be publishing an FAQ on the Department’s website. This also applies to any of the pre-submitted questions as well.

So today on the agenda we’re going to be starting off with a bit of an update on the Commonwealth Home Support Programme and that will be presented by Martin. I’ll also provide some detailed information on the work that we’re doing on the Commonwealth Home Support Programme Community Transport Pricing Pilot and Murray from ACTA will give us an update on the work that ACTA’s been doing in progressing the pilot. I’ll also walk you through some of the pilot progress and what the participants have been working on before we head into the Q&A panel.

So I’ll now hand to Martin to give us an update on the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.

Martin Dempsey:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘CHSP update’, ‘Martin Dempsey, Director, CHSP Program Management’]

Thanks Felicity and thank you everyone for being here today. So I’m just going to be providing a couple of updates. The first one’s on the CHSP current funding for the 24-25 extension. So in May 2023 the Budget announced that the program will be extended by an extra year and that providers must actually apply for the funding extension through the grant opportunity GO6821. Eligible CHSP providers would have received an invitation to apply for this grant opportunity via email. That invitation to apply would have outlined their proposed 24-25 funding based on their current 23-24 Grant Agreement. It also provided details about the application process and the next steps that organisations needed to take. Eligible CHSP providers will need to lodge that application via email to the CHSP Extension inbox before 2:00pm on the 14th of May this year.

Once completed and it has been lodged the Department will be then establishing Funding Agreements for the 24-25 year to be with providers.

The next thing is that if there’s more information that you do need regarding the 24-25 actual extension there’s Grant Opportunity Guidelines as well as the frequently asked questions on GrantConnect and also you can read the 24-25 Extension Fact Sheet which is on the Department’s website and also linked on GrantConnect. There’s also an opportunity if you need some technical assistance to contact the Health Grants team quoting the Grant Opportunity 6821.

The next thing I want to talk about is the 25-27 period. Following an announcement by Minister Wells in late November in 2023 the Commonwealth Home Support Programme has been further extended to at least 30 June 2027. Funding arrangements for this particular two years will be available in the coming months following this current extension process that we’re in at the moment for the one year. This means that CHSP providers will transition to the new Support at Home Program no earlier than July 2027. This allows providers to be prepared and up to date with any of the reforms to ensure a smooth transition for their organisation but also for the clients during that period.

Just going to be talking about the ad hoc grants and flexibility provisions here for a second. The Department injected an additional $15 million in the Grant Opportunity 5672 to have $30 million available for the current financial year, 23-24. Last week the Department limited this Grant Opportunity down to only emergency applications only due to funding limitations. The Department though continues to work through all of the applications that we have received and also monitors any gaps in service delivery. I want to in particular though emphasise that fuel ad hocs, if your organisation is eligible and is going to be still wanting to submit them, will continue to be assessed and approved through this current financial year. So it is open for emergencies as well as the fuel ad hoc and I’ll speak about that in a second.

The Department has also maintained the flexibility provisions for the CHSP providers and allowing greater flexibility to assist providers to support their clients. There is further information in the Program Manual about the flexibility provisions but it allows for providers to be able to move funding within aged care planning regions and across service types.

So just a little bit more on that fuel supplement that I spoke about a second ago. So CHSP providers where transport costs are more than 5% of their organisation’s annual grant funding may apply for an additional one off funding to assist them due to the increased fuel price at the moment. That’s underneath the Grant Opportunity 5672. This is in recognition that currently the transport costs have risen significantly in regards to fuel and this is a contribution that the Department is able to assist with providers to make sure that services continue. This one off payment will consider the increased fuel costs for the period of 1 July 2023 all the way through to 30 June. So it’s an estimated cost of your organisation relating to that full year. The one off payment equates to approximately 30 cents per litre and is available to all providers who have got a current CHSP Agreement.

If CHSP providers are subcontractors you will have to contact your subcontractor to be able to seek additional supports related to that as well, and also we’d be looking at whether or not organisations have utilised their full funding or are projected to be using their full funding throughout the financial year.

This week the Department released a forecasted Grant Opportunity and if you have not seen that please you want to go to GrantConnect and register. This will fund up to $100 million for this coming financial year, for 24-25, from 1 October 2024. There were four service types that were identified in this forecasted Grant Opportunity which was domestic assistance, allied health, home maintenance, and of particular interest probably for this group, transport services.

Current CHSP providers as well as new providers across aged care, disability, veterans as well can apply. Funding associated with the gross round is allocated against the services most in demand and in the most in demand and underfunded regions. The Department will be looking at further Grant Opportunities related to other areas and other service types in the future but I do strongly recommend that you get onto GrantConnect to have a look at the current opportunity forecast that’s been presented and available.

If you were deemed successful with our Grant Opportunity stated again to start from 1 October 2024 there will be further communication that will be then provided to you. The draft Guidelines are on the GrantConnect for you to have a look at and you can follow the QR code there as well regarding the forecast. It’s also on our Commonwealth Home Support home page on the Department of Health.

Felicity I’ll now hand back over to you to talk a little bit more about the Transport Pricing Pilot.

Felicity Benedetti:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Overview of pricing pilot’, ‘Felicity Benedetti, Director, CHSP and Continence Policy’]

Thanks Martin. And thanks for giving the update on some of the growth opportunities that are coming up. I know a lot of the providers joining us today will be interested in that one.

So now I’ll be taking you through some of the work that my team has been undertaking with the CHSP Community Transport Pricing Pilot. So what I’ll be doing today is giving you a bit of an overview of the objectives of the pilot, the methodology, timeframes, and I’ll give you a bit of an update on the work that we’ve done to date.

So there’s approximately 550 CHSP transport providers that deliver over 6.9 million trips each year to assist older Australians by helping them to be better connected to their communities and assist them to visit their local GPs, daily clinics, hospital runs, community events and so on. These services are delivered over a range of geographical locations.

We know that community transport allows a person to maintain their lifestyle and participate in activities which is really important for preventing social isolation. Community transport can change an older person’s future need for aged care services and can directly influence their dependence on specific service types, the number of times they need to access the services, their level of independence and the mix of support services needed. It also demonstrates the implementation of the CHSP Wellness and Reablement and Restorative Care Policies. 

However as our population ages and the demand for community transport services continues to grow the sector may face various challenges in meeting the needs of older Australians efficiently and effectively. Under the Community Transport Pricing Pilot the intent is to better understand service delivery and the social capital contributed by community transport organisations and really trying to understand how this can actually be quantified through a pricing matrix.

The decision to extend CHSP until June 2027 has allowed providers ample time to prepare and make necessary adjustments to transition to Support at Home to ensure that there’s minimal disruptions to services. This will also have a positive impact for older people who will continue to have access to services, remain healthy and socially connected to their community.

The Department’s using this time to develop a new community transport pricing model that’s going to be backed up by real time data and insights gathered from 30 participating CHSP transport providers. Through the study there’s a great opportunity to develop, test and evaluate alternative evidence-based funding policies for transport under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme ahead of the broader reforms.

We are using the National Variable Pricing Matrix developed by ACTA as a baseline for the pilot and this may actually change as we continue to collect data and gain further insights throughout the pilot.

The current transport service model combines trips with high frequency connection as well as other contributing elements of the service such as the cost of a trip, vehicle costs and volunteer costs. By utilising active service providers across the community transport network to run real time piloting and testing the pilot’s going to give us some of the most robust evidence-base ever constructed in this area. And we’re doing this work now ahead of the reforms to try and clarify some of the definitions associated with transport services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme. We’re also trying to really figure out how we can reflect the value of that social support element of community transport service models.

While this project does not intend to transform every aspect of community transport services in in‑home aged care it will however have a strong focus on the development and the refinement of a more accurate funding model that will deliver positive impacts and benefits for both providers and clients. This will enable a strong business case for policy change and support any decisions around how providers may be funded in the future.

Throughout the pilot we will be undertaking some evaluative activities and this will be also used to inform the future policy settings. The pilot is also a great opportunity for community transport sector to build a stronger collaborative network that can help to feed into some of these policy decisions.

The pilot aims to develop a viable pricing model that will differentiate the difference between community transport versus those in direct transport services. It will ensure that community transport sector is able to continue providing that social connection as a core element to service delivery and be sustainable in the long run by factoring in direct and indirect costs such as distance or time, vehicle expenses, dead runs and volunteer costs. The model will also help to improve the accuracy of reporting and data collection by developing some consistent service delivery parameters such as defining what a trip actually is, what is community transport and understanding the different levels of client complexity.

It will also ensure that older people are able to continue accessing the services they need while feeling socially engaged when receiving the transport services.

I’ll now give you a bit of an overview of the pilot methodology. So the funding model is going to be developed in a fairly iterative process and it’s going to be tested with live data. The study has begun to collect the relevant data from the 30 participating CHSP providers which will then be analysed by the University of South Australia. So these participants provide CHSP transport services across all states and territories and represent a broad spectrum in terms of what other services they offer, their organisational structure, so if they’re profit, not for profit or a Government entity, whether they specialise in services for First Nations or CALD communities, and also we’ve tried to ensure that we’ve got a good geographical coverage spanning from rural, remote and metro areas. We’ve also looked at trying to ensure that we include varying organisational sizes as well, so your small, medium and large organisations based on the number of outputs they’re funded to deliver each year. So this diversity in the group ensures that we will have a comprehensive representation of the sector.

Data is a core element of the pilot and without the data we can’t actually see where components of this service need to be better supported through a revised funding model and consistent policy parameters. The University of South Australia will perform data collection and analysis throughout the study, document findings, present insights and also recommendations as part of their final report. The Department will then use these recommendations and present them to Government in order to obtain the necessary approvals to implement any changes under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme transport services.

So we wanted to give you a bit of an indication on what the timeline looks like that we’re working towards. So we established the working group of the 30 participants, or we started to establish it in October last year and since then we’ve begun trying to really understand how they operate. So ACTA and participating organisations have been working together to investigate the technology and data requirements to enable that like for like analysis across all services. The University of South Australia is currently undertaking analysis of each provider’s business to understand their operational and financial position. We’ve also done some codesign and prioritisation activities to determine some of the policy issues that we may be able to address under the pilot.

The Department has also begun defining service delivery components. As I mentioned we’re trying to define what a trip is and how do we accurately capture and report high, medium and low needs clients and how do we account for service complexity, so for example if a person has a motorised scooter or if they’ve got cognitive decline.

At this stage the pilot is due to commence from 1 July 2024 and this will allow us nine to 12 months of pilot reporting and real time data capture. The pilot participants will test the draft funding model and ACTA in partnership with the Department will refine the model where we need to with an emphasis on making community transport more sustainable while ensuring service availability, client choice and access.

Towards the end of the pilot we will receive the final report from the university partner and then we’ll be able to put forward options for Government consideration.

As I mentioned we are working towards a timeline that enables us to be ready for when CHSP transitions to Support at Home.

We also just wanted to give you a bit of an update on some of the parameters that we’ve set for the participants who are part of the pilot. So the pilot is going to be fairly time intensive on participants so we needed to ensure that there was going to be some flexibility. We will be making some updates to the CHSP Manual and this will include things like any of those definitions that we’ll be developing, so defining what a trip is, and also any changes to reporting for those pilot participants.

The participant contracts will likely need to have a contract addendum to account for their participation in the study and this will set out some of the reporting requirements and limitations on the flexibility provisions.

So under the pilot the participants will need to do dual reporting. So they will need to continue to report in DEX and we’ll establish another mechanism for the pilot reporting so that we can actually validate the pricing and funding matrix.

There will also be some limits on the flexibility provisions for transport services and this is really critical because we can’t have funding being moved in or out of transport and this will ensure that the pilot accurately validates the pricing matrix and policy parameters.

The participants also have that certainty of guaranteed funding. So there aren’t any major changes to their Funding Agreements and that will continue on. There is limited compliance actions as well and this is particularly for those participants who see a reduction in outputs delivered for transport due to their direct participation in the pilot. If a participant is contracted to deliver other service types such as domestic assistance or social support activities these will still be reviewed and monitored as part of the compliance processes. The participants involved in the transport pilot however aren’t exempt from any compliance actions if there are concerns about providers not meeting the quality standards.

So I know we’ve had a lot of questions about who’s actually participating in the pilot. We have published all the organisation names on our website and later on in the slide pack today there will be a QR code that will take you to that web page.

So in the later half of 2023 ACTA ran an expression of interest process and this was widely publicised through their network state groups, the New South Wales Community Transport Organisation Conference and targeted engagements with CHSP providers in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The 30 successful participants were selected because they’re funded to deliver CHSP transport services, their organisation size ranges from small, medium and large, they have differing business models, they deliver services to metro, regional and remote areas particularly MMM 5, 6 and 7, some of them provide services to the First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and there was also a commitment from these providers to be part of the pilot and provide the data to the University of South Australia.

We also checked to make sure that there was no major compliance issues against their CHSP Funding Agreements.

So we’ve held two working group meetings now. One was back in December and this was a good opportunity to just do some introductions and meet the pilot participants and give them an overview of the objectives of the pilot, similar to what we’re presenting today. We also recently held a face to face working group meeting in February and this was a really good opportunity to meet people face to face. And this included the University of South Australia as well. At this working group meeting we discussed some of the key priorities and the definitions for consideration and testing under the pilot. And ACTA ran a policy issues session to determine the most critical policy challenges that we need to try and tackle and determine if it’s within the scope of the pricing pilot for community transport.

We also heard from providers throughout the day about their community transport experiences and the lessons learnt from the NDIS.

We do have some more working group meetings scheduled for later this year as well.

So I’ll now hand over to Murray to speak on behalf of ACTA about the partnership with the Department and what the University has been progressing.

Murray Coates:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘ACTA update’, ‘Murray Coates, CEO, Australian Community Transport Association’]

Thanks very much Felicity. And just a big thank you to the people who have come to those working groups. They’ve been a very energised and solution focused group of people and I think the sector’s in pretty good hands with those people expressing their views and giving some real live examples and some solutions to where we need to go.

For people who don’t know ACTA’s the national peak body for community transport and a number of people might know their state organisations. And in recent times ACTA’s made a strategic decision to roll those state organisations up into a national body due to the fact that a lot of the issues currently existing in the NDIS space and within the aged care space are happening at a Commonwealth level. So most of those state organisations have now wound up and the members of those state organisations have become part of the national peak.

We represent and advocate obviously around community transport on a national basis and we’re also heavily involved in some of the states as well in terms of state issues. So we’ve got this really nice unique situation where we can roll state issues into national issues and national issues down into state issues and states can actually learn from each other. And there’s some terrific work going on in Queensland, Victoria and South Australia in particular that are using that sort of latitudinal learning from each other and policy development.

We’ve got a really good understanding of idiosyncrasies of the sector. All of our directors are community transport providers themselves so they bring a wealth of knowledge. And ACTA’s making a huge effort to try and get out there and actually talk to people on the ground and understand what’s going on.

We work with a huge range of people from very small community transport providers in areas such as Tennant Creek where they’ve got two vehicles through to some of the largest organisations that have got over 100 vehicles. So that gives us a real depth of knowledge in terms of being able to advance the variable pricing matrix.

We’ve been working with the Department on this topic for some years because it’s important to have context around this as well and it’s a real credit to the Department that they’ve actually engaged with us and they’ve heard some of the key aspects of what community transport does. It seems to us that most of the community think of community transport as a vehicle that just simply picks people up and drops them off. And we all know out there that community transport is far more than that and provides enormous benefits to people who are living in our communities around the nation.

This is just I guess the raw matrix that ACTA developed some time ago and that we’re actually working on. And I guess what we’re working to do is ensure that the sector going forward has two things. Firstly quality services. That’s really important I think for the communities that we serve. And the second thing we want is a sustainable sector. And I think we all realise that with trip fees from anywhere from $19 to $39 across the nation depending on where you are and how good your negotiation skills are is not really leading to a sustainable sector when we’ve got some organisations investing hugely in things like modified vehicles, when we’ve also got people doing huge distances or some of our metro members who are actually sitting in traffic for long periods of time and that unit costing is not maintaining a sustainable service for them.

So effectively what we’re starting off with – and I emphasise starting off with. The whole point of this pilot is to test these ideas, is to spin different models and see what the result is and use the working group as a mirror to see that we’re getting to the pointy end of what this matrix is. Potentially what this does is it removes a lot of the perverse incentives and it pays people for what they do. So this one’s actually based on kilometres. You’ll see that. I can hear our metro members going ‘Yes but we want time because that’s a more relevant measure for us’. We’re not wedded to those measurements. That will be up to the University of South Australia to run a variety of different scenarios using millions of datasets to actually come up and make a recommendation and help us decide what might be the best way to do that.

You’ll see on the right hand side too we talk about thin markets because ACTA’s point of view is that over a certain distance or in particular areas that the thin market should prevail rather than paying piece work. And we’re really pleased to see that the taskforce has also acknowledged that thin markets don’t necessarily just exist in geographical areas, that they also exist in very specialised areas as well. So that will all obviously be part of the discussion of the working group and where we go with this.

Just to talk about the University partner for a while. We put out an expression of interest to the university sector. It was late last year. Everything’s moving so quickly. Late last year with a very detailed spec on what we wanted the university partner to do. There was interviews held and quite an in-depth process followed to arrive at our partner being the University of South Australia. And they’re turning out to be a fantastic partner. They’re turning out to be quite flexible. They’re working alongside us and I think they’re working with the IT providers or software providers very, very well. And they’re engaging with the working group as we speak as well.

So their role really has three components that’s also aligned with the pilot itself. The pilot itself has three pieces to it. The first bit is the design of the evaluation framework and this is all about making sure that we’re understanding what we’re trying to evaluate and how we’re going to do that evaluation. Part of this stage is also ensuring that we have all the back office arrangements done so that we can get consistency of data and so that everything runs smoothly once the data’s starting to be collected. So the pilot’s a little bit quiet at the moment in terms of our communication because there’s not a lot to communicate because we’re working flat chat to make sure that we’ve got all the IT environments correct. Some providers are actually changing their IT provider so they’re obviously flat chat doing that. And then there’s all the other processes that we need to make sure that we get in place so that we can actually manage this project in a professional and effective way.

Then we’ll move into the undertaking the trial of the National Variable Pricing Matrix on the 1st of July. So that’s a hard date for us that we need to go live with that and the University will then be collecting data from the participant organisations from across Australia. As Felicity’s already spoken about they’re as diverse as you can possibly imagine so that we’re getting some really good data. We may also have some SME organisations sitting on the side such as Dementia Australia or some of those peak organisations that can also help us with some of that more specialist feed in as well.

The University will be reporting to us on a monthly basis and we’ll be reflecting what’s happening both on a policy basis and also what actually feeds into the matrix as a final formula. There is no final formula at this stage. Again that’s what the University is being asked to consider.

So I think I’ve spoken about phase one. And then as we move into phase two we’ll be as I said collecting the data and analysing that. We’re hoping that the University will be also challenging us because we might have a particular view on something but the data’s telling us something completely different. So that will be an important part of it and then we’ll move through to phase three which is obviously the final report and we’re hoping that at that stage we’ve got something that works and we can start thinking about an implementation plan for national implementation.

In terms of the dataset the University started coming up with the data collection points and then we workshopped this at the last working group meeting in Canberra. And we’ve come up with a file, trip level information. And there are two sets of data. Firstly there’s this data which we’re going to get out the back end of IT systems. It will be completely unidentified. The University’s ethical approval has outlined those things. Because we really don’t need to know who it is. We just need to know what are the activities and processes of the community transport provider.

There’s also a second set of data which is more at the operation level of organisations. So we’re pretty close to this now. We’ve almost got all the information in now that we’re abstracting from organisations themselves. We obviously need to understand what are all their input costs. We need to understand overheads. We need to understand a whole range of different variables that will occur across the nation because this will obviously be important when the University starts looking at different models or considering different ways of ensuring that the whole cost of community transport is absorbed into whatever we come up with at the end.

So that’s my update. Happy to take questions at the end and I’ll hand back to you Felicity.

Felicity Benedetti:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Pilot progress update’, ‘Felicity Benedetti, Director, CHSP and Continence Policy’]

Great. Thanks Murray. So I’ll just give a bit of an update on what we’ve been doing so far. So we’ve probably already covered off some of these things but just to recap we’ve selected all the pilot participants across Australia. We’re confirming the back of house arrangements and the data collection requirements with the University, providers and software providers, and we’ve begun receiving that financial and operational information from pilot participants. We’ve also got that defined dataset that Murray just spoke about and we’ve also got a draft evaluation framework which is going to be critical as we go through, as the pilot progresses.

We are also collecting the policy issues and the priorities and have commenced refining some of these and exploring how we may be able to incorporate some of these or address them in the pilot. And we’ve also begun working on those new definitions.

So I have mentioned a few times that we are looking to define some of those core elements of service delivery and these include what constitutes a trip, service complexity and how this fits into the classifications of Support at Home and that social engagement and connection.

I did want to specifically call out although thin markets is quite critical when it comes to transport services this is something that we will be able to collect information on throughout the pilot but we won’t actually be defining this for the pilot. But what we will be doing is working with ACTA to ensure that the funding model and any policy parameters do align with the implementation of the Aged Care Taskforce recommendations which specifically call out the need to continue block funding thin markets where appropriate and necessary. The Taskforce final report is available on the Department’s website so you can read a bit more about that in their report.

So what’s happening now? ACTA is working with the participants and software providers to arrange the appropriate reporting software to be used and we’re developing some communications plans for the participants but also that broader sector so we can keep everyone well informed about how we progress with the pilot. We’re also testing new policy definitions through discussion papers with the working group members.

If you do want to learn more about the Transport Pilot we do have a dedicated page. So I’ve got the QR code there that will take you to that page. We’ll be using this page to provide updates from working group meetings. We’ll publish our fact sheets. We’ve just recently published a fact sheet and it’s up there now. And we’ll also be publishing the frequently asked questions from today’s webinar. We will also be doing future webinars again just to keep the broader sector updated with what we’re doing in this space. And I also recommend that you subscribe to the Your Aged Care Update newsletter where we’ll be sending out alerts to any new information that’s been published.

If you do have any questions about the pilot feel free to email us. My team’s email is homesupportpolicy@health.gov.au and you can also reach out to ACTA on the email address on the slides there.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Q&A panel’, ‘Felicity Benedetti, Director, CHSP and Continence Policy’, ‘Martin Dempsey, Director, CHSP Program Management’, ‘Murray Coates, CEO, Australian Community Transport Association’]

So we’ll now open up the Q&A session with Martin and Murray and myself. So we did mention we will be doing up an FAQ after today’s webinar but we will try to get through most of the questions on here now.

 

And we’ll also look at the pre-submitted questions too.

So I’m just looking at the most popular one that we’ve got here and the first one is asking:

Q:        Can organisations not part of the pilot have access to the pricing model to do internal testing?

So we will be publishing some information about the pricing model in the CHSP Manual but we will be putting some parameters in there as well but we’ll probably need to give some more information about how you can actually use that model or the matrix. And because this is going to be a fairly iterative process, the model is likely to change. So we can definitely take that into consideration and we can put some more information in the FAQs.

So Martin this one probably will be for you.

Q:        Many social support transport people to and from social support group activities. They don’t have transport funding and there are situations where the time spent getting people to and from the service are not able to be counted in data. Will this pilot consider and inform transport activities in this context?

Actually that might actually be for me.

Martin Dempsey:

I think the second half is for you.

Felicity Benedetti:

Yeah. I read the first bit.

Martin Dempsey:

How about I start the first bit and then you can – so I definitely understand when providers are delivering transport services as part of their social support group that it can actually add an additional cost. That’s definitely a conversation they should have with their grant arrangement manager to see whether or not there’s capacity to actually get a higher unit price for the actual costs in delivering an activity and output an hour in a social support group. So that would be definitely a conversation to have with the funding arrangement manager. And also in regards to the unit price range that’s been published as well for the 24-25 period.

Felicity Benedetti:

Yeah. And as part of the pilot this is definitely things that we’re going to be factoring in. This is some of the core things that we’re trying to actually capture data on and trying to understand how we can build this into the pricing matrix. Murray did you have anything else to add?

Murray Coates:

Yeah. Thanks Felicity. We’ve got a number of organisations in the pilot that are undertaking this activity so we will definitely be collecting data on that and comparing it to other datasets to see what the impact is there. So I think the answer to your question is yes.

Felicity Benedetti:

Yep.

Next question.

Q:        Has the Department given consideration of what will happen to CHSP transport, so the taxi vouchers, and how is this going to be incorporated going forward?

Again Murray you’ll probably have something to say here too. So we are looking at those direct and indirect services for transport. So this includes those activities that include the taxi vouchers. So a few of the things that we need to try and understand especially from my perspective is how were these services actually delivered, and we’ll need to pull out what the difference is between that community transport and how these are indirect transport services delivered.

Murray Coates:

Yeah. We’re definitely collecting data on brokerage, taxi vouchers, all those different range of ways that people are providing services across Australia. The other interesting thing that’s not so much part of the pilot but the different state Government policy settings in different states are very different. So ACTA’s also talking to state Governments about the interaction between that and the taxi subsidy schemes and all those sort of things. It’s quite a complex area but certainly the pilot will look at it from a CHSP level.

Felicity Benedetti:

The next question is an interesting one.

Q:        Will there be capital grants for conversion to electric or hybrid vehicles?

So we probably can’t answer that question at this stage but the transport pilot is really looking at that pricing matrix. So how do we actually build that matrix from the national variable pricing matrix? We’ve currently got the low, medium and high in terms of the client complexity and it’s either going to be by distance or time or some sort of variation of that.

We may collect some information on the hybrid vehicles and this could feed into some future work or recommendations. But with the pilot we’re not directly looking at the hybrid vehicles.

Murray Coates:

And just to add to that. Again not part of the pilot but ACTA has been talking to Arena which is another Commonwealth Government department that encourages a zero emissions policy across Australia and there could be some opportunities that we’ll reach out to members for in the next 12 months about some subsidies around being able to move to electric vehicles if that’s something that organisations want to do. But not part of the pilot.

Martin Dempsey:

And just finally as well there was last year the Government – in regards to all the councils coming together – were looking at the way that delivery of services across not just CHSP but generally the use in trying to make a zero impact through emissions as well was announced about mid last year as well. So the Government holistically is also looking at this.

Felicity Benedetti:

Great. So Martin this question is for you about the CHSP grants.

Q:        So the invite to apply email for CHSP grant for the next year says to apply for the CHSP extension and reply to the CHSP Extension inbox within two weeks with your organisation’s responses to the three questions posed. It did not to say to lodge via GrantConnect.

Can you give some clarity on that one?

Martin Dempsey:

Yes. Sure. So the 24-25, this is extending the existing service providers into their contract for 24‑25. They would have received the invitation to apply from the CHSP Extension inbox and they then respond to the CHSP Extension inbox. The information is all on GrantConnect as in the grant opportunities and frequently asked questions but the way that they actually respond back is through that email address which is the same process as the previous year. And I also just want to clarify that the extension for 24-25 is only for the existing service providers and that the forecast grant opportunity which I mentioned earlier which is on Grant Connect, that is broader than just CHSP providers currently.

Felicity Benedetti:

Thanks Martin.

So I’ve got a question here.

Q:        Can you confirm if there’s any Victorian councils included in the pricing matrix?

So we do have one Victorian council and we have five other Victorian organisations in the pilot.

And again you can go to our website and we’ve actually published all the providers on there.

Next question.

Q:        Will client no show trips be included?

So I guess this is something that we’re definitely going to be considering throughout the design of the pricing model and as we collect that data. I probably can’t definitively say how that’s going to look at this stage but it’s definitely something we’re looking and trying to capture in the data. Murray did you have anything else to add?

Murray Coates:

No. I think that’s right Felicity. It is in the dataset so that we can identify it as a separate impact on what we end up with. So yeah that is in there.

Felicity Benedetti:

Great. Martin another one for you.

Q:        Can you provide more information about the 5% ad hoc grant that was mentioned under the GOG5672?

Martin Dempsey:

Yeah. Sure. So this is an opportunity for providers where they have more than 5% of their annual funding is used in regards to fuel. They are able to apply for additional funds for fuel underneath that. It doesn’t necessarily need to be transport. It can be more than transport. Providers that for instance if they spend more than 5% delivering domestic assistance because they’re on the road a significant amount in time and it’s more than 5% of their contract and they can demonstrate that then they can also still apply for fuel underneath that grant opportunity.

Felicity Benedetti:

Great. Thanks Marty. I’ll just go to some of the pre-submitted questions as well because there were some good ones in there about how we’re actually going to account for whether it’s distance or time.

Q:        Is there an opportunity to look at or test another funding model? The reason for this is to ensure that the best model is identified. There are concerns that the pilot ends and the model currently being tested may be flawed.

So with this one as I mentioned throughout the webinar it’s going to be a fairly iterative process where we’re starting off with the national variable pricing matrix ands this is going to probably be refined and further developed as we actually get that data and gain further insights into how the services are being delivered. So we’re definitely looking at what’s going to be most fit for purpose for the broader sector. Murray anything else to add on that one?

Murray Coates:

Thanks Felicity. I think the other thing just to add there is that in the project plan there are defined reflection points where we’ll get a pretty good idea about whether we’re heading in the right direction or whether we do need to sort of do a left turn, right turn, U-turn, whatever. So it’s not like it’s going to be work, work, work and then come to the end and it’s either yes or no. It’s not a hypothesis situation. As Felicity said it’s reiterating that. The first major I guess checkpoint is the University’s first report which is due later this year and they’ll also be presenting their initial findings and ideas at the ACTA national conference in August. So that will be a great opportunity for the whole sector to get together and have a look at that and consider where it’s going and how we’re doing that. So there are some key checkpoints in place. We’re not just assuming we’re driving to oblivion and then one day we’re going to make a decision. It’s a very thought out and project management process to make sure that when we get to the end we’ve actually got something that is going to work and is going to achieve those quality and sustainability outcomes that we’re all so interested in.

Felicity Benedetti:

Yeah. Great.

Q:        Will the outputs of this pricing pilot feed into the Support at Home pricing?

So this pricing pilot is specifically for CHSP transport services but it will be used to inform the teams here in the Support at Home team and we will look at how it could potentially inform those future policy decisions and the design of Support at Home.

Murray I might throw this one to you.

Q:        How will the pricing model distinguish between group transport trips and individual transport trips?

Murray Coates:

Yeah. It’s an excellent question. We are collecting data around those. My guess is at the end of the day that’s going to be more of a policy question than a funding question. So as frustrating as it is I think I have to say watch this space because we’ll need to sort of start spinning some of those models. But we will have the data that tells us how many people are in the vehicle at different times so that should help us feed through that.

Felicity Benedetti:

This one.

Q:        Are you looking at a ratio of subsidy for longer distances for essential specialist visits?

So Murray I’ll start and then I might throw to you. We’re not probably specifically calling out the specialist visits but we will be looking at those distances travelled and the time spent with those clients. Because as we’ve heard from our working group members some of them are travelling 400 kilometres from Bathurst to Sydney for some appointments. So we definitely know that this is a critical thing that we need to try and look at throughout the pilot.

Murray Coates:

Yeah. I think that’s right Felicity and I think that that’s the whole purpose again of where the pilot is to sort of test some of those ideas. And you’ll see that the matrix that we put up earlier it is based on distance, time, whatever unit we end up with, and then the support needs of the individual. So it should pick that up quite accurately. So yeah I think that will be a key part of what we actually find. We’re also aware of the tension between paid staff and volunteers and we do understand that volunteering has become a lot more difficult after COVID and we also understand the tension between a person attending a specialist appointment that is going to improve their quality of health, going to give them good quality of life, and sometimes having volunteers doing that isn’t ideal. You need to be able to ensure that the person’s there on time and that sort of thing. And that’s not to criticise volunteers. It’s just there are probably some trips that need to be prioritised over other types of trips. So they’re a couple of the tensioners we’re also working with.

Felicity Benedetti:

I think you’ve just answered one of the pre-submitted questions too. Thanks Murray.

Murray Coates:

Okay. Great.

Felicity Benedetti:

So I might throw to you again Murray.

Q:        How will the pilot consider and value the consumer relationship requirements of community transport?

Murray Coates:

It’s probably the biggest part of it I think. It’s easy to look upon this pilot as just going you’re going to go so many kilometres and you’re going to get paid so much for a particular person who has particular support needs. And it’s true. It will very much do that. But one of the things that ACTA’s been investing in for the last couple of years is making sure that we can quantify and we can talk about the other value adds that community transport does. Those relationships that people have with drivers, those relationships people have with other people in the vehicle, the welfare checks we all do, the making sure that people are getting to the shops so they can get healthy, fresh food. And one of the conversations that the Department’s very keen to have is that social capital and how does community transport add to that and what’s the value of that. Because there’s lots of research out there and we’ve done some of the desktop research as part of this pilot. There’s lots of research out there particularly internationally that clearly points to the value of a service like community transport that is the glue to so many other parts of people’s lives. So we’re quite keen to put a price on that. It doesn’t have to be a dollar price but we’re quite keen to sort of drill down on that and understand what that actually means.

And another key component of the pilot will be the University will be doing some one on one interviews with the participants in the pilot. And I guess that will be aimed also at drilling down on a point like that and making sure that we’re not just being driven by hard data all the time but we’re also capsulating some of those really important social aspects of what we do and we’ll be encapsulating that in some case studies as well for the final report so that we’re bringing some words to the numbers and we’re displaying some of that human factor rather than just hard data which will obviously be important from an evidential point of view but it will be the human factors and the case studies I think that will be able to communicate why we’ve arrived at where we’ve arrived.

Felicity Benedetti:

Great. Thanks Murray. I think we’ve got time for just one more question because I did want to answer this top one that’s on the screen now.

Q:        How will trips beyond 50 minutes be calculated and what about dead kilometres, that travel to get the client?

Murray did you want to answer that one? 

Murray Coates:

Yeah. Happy to. So look this is another key issue and we’ve certainly got stories from members who travel 150 kilometres from a rural town out to somebody’s property to bring them back for a medical appointment. We’re aware of places, geographic places where people have got to go the long way around due to lakes, rivers, those sort of things, and the vehicle’s essentially empty. We’re aware of people who drive from Albury to Melbourne to a medical appointment and tie the vehicle and the driver up all day. So all those sort of things will be captured in the data. The data was probably flashed up a bit quickly. We’re certainly happy to share that dataset with anybody. But it will collect all those pieces of information that again will enable us to sort of calculate your 50 minute trip or indeed your three hour trip and make sure that it’s captured in there.

At the moment it may end up in thin markets because of the infrastructure intensity of what it is but all those things need to be worked through and all those things also need to be related to other reform processes that the Department’s undertaking that are affecting a whole range of different service provision. So yeah definitely that will be part of it.

Felicity Benedetti:

Yeah. Great. And the slides will be posted along with a recording today or in the next few days so people will have access to that dataset that we’re collecting information on.

So I’ll leave it there. Thank you to all our panellists and presenters today and thank you for everyone for taking the time out of your day to join us. I hope you’ve found it informative. When you do exit out of today’s webinar there will be a survey. If you could just take – it only takes a minute to answer the three questions but it just helps us to improve future webinars.

Again thanks everyone for attending and hope you have a great Easter.

[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Thank you for attending’, ‘health.gov.au/our-work/CHSP-community-transport-pricing-pilot’, ‘homesupportpolicy@health.gov.au’]

[End of Transcript]

Presentation slides

Presenters

  • Felicity Benedetti, Director, CHSP and Continence Policy Section, Department of Health and Aged Care
  • Murray Coates, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Community Transport Association
  • Martin Dempsey, Director, CHSP Program Section, Department of Health and Aged Care

About the webinar

The webinar was held on Thursday 28 March 2024 from 2:00pm to 3:00pm AEDT for all CHSP transport providers and gave an update on the CHSP Community Transport Pricing Pilot.

The webinar:

  • shared more details about the pilot, including the aim of the work, timeframes and who is involved 
  • gave CHSP transport providers the opportunity to ask questions. 

Subscriptions

To keep up to date about upcoming webinars, subscribe to our aged care sector announcements and newsletters.

Date published:
Date last updated:

Help us improve health.gov.au

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