Publishing provider reporting for stakeholders and the community

This webinar gives providers an overview of how their operational and financial data will be published on My Aged Care in 2024. This includes data on your earnings, spending, and surplus or loss. This will help older Australians to make more informed care decisions, and increase transparency.

Audience:
Health sector
Webinar date:
to

Presentation slides

Webinar recording

51:48

Department of Health and Aged Care

Publishing Provider Reporting for Stakeholders and the Community

Tuesday, 28 November 2023

Presented by:

moderator:

Eleanor Browne

Assistant Secretary, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch

Department of Health and Aged Care

Speakers:

Kate Stewart

Director, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch

Department of Health and Aged Care

Mike Pope

Director, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch

Department of Health and Aged Care

Mitch Docking

Acting Director, Aged Care Workforce Branch

Department of Health and Aged Care

Katie Holm

Assistant Secretary, Strengthening Providers Branch

Department of Health and Aged Care

[Opening visual of slide with text saying 'Australian Government, Department of Health and Aged Care (with logo)', 'Publishing provider reporting for stakeholders and the community', '28 November 2023']

[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker connecting via videoconference and visible on the right-hand side of the screen, speaking with reference to the content of PowerPoint presentations occupying the main part of the screen]

Eleanor Browne:

Good afternoon everyone. Thank you all for attending today's webinar. I'm Eleanor Browne, Acting Assistant Secretary in the Department of Health and Aged Care and I'll be co-hosting this event with my colleagues, Mike Pope, Kate Stewart, Mitch Docking and Katie Holm.

I'll begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the lands on which we are virtually meeting today. I am in Canberra on the lands of the Ngunnawal people. And I'd also like to acknowledge other families who have a connection to this land. I pay my respects to Elders past and present and I extend that acknowledgement and pay respects to any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are with us on the call today.

Just a bit of admin before we get into the content of today's webinar. There will be a Q and A session at the end of the webinar and you can lodge questions in the Slido box on the right-hand side of the screen. We will try to respond to as many questions as we can at the end of the session today but outstanding questions will be answered and published on our website. This session will also be recorded and uploaded onto our website along with the slides.

Let's move on to today's agenda.

Today we are going to discuss three initiatives that are about improving transparency and making it easier for providers to submit quarterly financial reports.

I will shortly hand over to Kate Stewart who will give an update on the project to move the quarterly financial reporting submissions onto the Government Provider Management System, GPMS. Then Mike will discuss plans to publish more information on provider finances and operations on My Aged Care and outline how you can preview that information prior to publication. Mitch will then provide an update on the recent changes to reporting on wages and plans to publish that data.

To finish up as I mentioned we will have a Q and A session and the Slido will pop up on the right-hand side of the screen. Katie Holm is also joining us today in case we have any particular questions on the provider operations information to be published on My Aged Care.

I will now hand over to Kate Stewart to give you an update on the new QFR submission process through GPMS.

Kate Stewart:

Thanks El.

From January 2024 providers will submit their quarterly financial report through the Government Provider Management System. It has a user-friendly, intuitive interface and aligns with other reporting applications on GPMS.

The new application includes enhancements to the Excel template bulk data upload, and also displays quality assurance assessor comments within the application streamlining the quality assurance process. We encourage organisation administrators to set up their financial reporting users and check they can access the QFR application in order to complete Quarter 2 reporting which opens on the 1st of January and closes on the 14th of February.

There are two types of financial reporting users. One is only able to enter data. The second is able to both enter and submit data. You may choose what access is appropriate to give to your users.

We will now play a video giving you an overview of the new application.

(Start of video playing)

Male Speaker:

Hello and welcome to the new Quarterly Financial Report application. In this video I'm going to show you how to access the QFR and provide an overview of the application and some of the new features. Let's get started.

You can access the QFR through the Government Provider Management System. You will need your organisation administrator to assign you a financial-reporting user role to be able to access the QFR. User guides available on the Department's website have information on assigning user roles and logging into GPMS for the first time.

Once your access is updated and you have logged into GPMS, the GPMS dashboard will display the Financial Reporting tile. Clicking it will open the QFR application. When you open the QFR application you'll see the QFR landing page. Here you'll find three tabs that provide important information and resources.

Let's start with the What's New tab. Information here is updated each quarter, keeping you informed on any updates to the QFR. Next we have the Reporting Due Dates tab. This tab is essential for knowing when your reporting submissions are due.

Lastly we have the Guides and FAQs tab. Selecting any of the QFR resources here will take you to the Department's website. This is where you can find additional guidance including written user guides and videos. Keep checking back as supporting materials will be progressively updated.

When the next submission period opens your QFR will be visible. When you are ready to begin click on the start button.

For this video we're going to show you a home care and residential care service provider. Your QFR is customised to the relevant services that you offer. If you start your submission and need to pause, simply click the Save and Close button. You can close the form knowing that your data is saved and you can return to complete your submission. You can also download a copy of your submission at any time even if it's in draft by selecting the Download Copy button.

Let's have a look at the different sections of the form. There are a couple of ways to work throughout the report. You can complete each section in succession using the Next and Previous buttons located at the bottom of each section.

Another way to navigate the form is by using the side-bar displayed on the left. Clicking on a section title opens that part of the form, allowing you to complete the report in any order that suits you. The side-bar will track your progress by displaying different coloured icons.

A red cross will prevent you from submitting your report. It might be because a data field is blank and requires a response or entered data requires additional explanation. I'll show you how to quickly identify a missing field in a moment.

The Before You Start section is the first section displayed, giving you an overview of the information to be submitted for different service types.

The Contact section is where you can review and update your contact details for the respective quarter's submission. It is mandatory to have one primary contact listed so they can receive communications from the Department.

You also have the option of adding secondary contacts. You have the opportunity to add contacts for applicable services including home care, residential care, and food and nutrition. It's important to note that these secondary contacts are entirely optional. Adding them can be beneficial so they can also receive communications. To add a secondary contact simply fill in the required fields. Your contact details can be updated each quarter if needed.

We've made some updates to the viability and prudential compliance questions. If you answer yes to questions, you will find free text boxes where you can input detailed responses to the questions asked.

You can now adjust the text-box size to accommodate your answer. Click through and drag the corner to make it large enough or smaller, ensuring you have enough space to provide a comprehensive response. For some questions a yes response may trigger additional questions that you will need to respond to.

In these next sections of the form you will see there are more options to customise the view of your QFR.

When you enter financial information on the data tables found on the year to date financial statement, labour costs and hours and food and nutrition sections, you can choose to bulk upload your data using an Excel template or enter data directly into the online form.

Using the Excel template can save you time and ensure accuracy. It's important to download a new template for each section. If you reuse a previous template the system will not upload the file.

The second option is to input your financial data directly into the online form. This provides more flexibility if you prefer to work directly within the portal. When you choose this option you will see fields where you can enter the required financial information.

You can make the table larger by selecting the Expand View option. This allows you to see more rows and columns. This is particularly helpful if you have a number of services or aged care planning regions. You can use the navigation buttons at the top of the table to jump to sections within the page or columns to quickly navigate throughout the table.

You can choose to use either method depending on your processes and needs across any of the remaining QFR data-entry sections.

On the Year to Date Financial Statement section you have the option of hiding segments that aren't applicable. Select the toggle button and confirm your decision. If you've entered data in this segment, toggling will update all of the values to zero.

As you enter data or after you've bulk uploaded data, built-in validations will check for common completeness and accuracy errors in your submission. Some validations will prompt you to amend the entered value or provide an explanation, while others will require you to correct your response before you can proceed. You will be alerted to these by the 'Why' icon.

Once you have completed all sections of the report you will be able to complete the declaration and submit your QFR.

The first step is to download the declaration. It's important to download the new template for each submission. If you reuse a previous declaration your QFR will be rejected and you'll be asked to resubmit. This template is to be signed by the appropriate signatory confirming the accuracy and authenticity of the financial data.

After completing the declaration upload it back using the Upload File button or drop the file on the box to submit the signed form. You may need to wait a few moments while the file is scanned for viruses before you can submit your report.

Once you have submitted your report you have the option of downloading a copy to save for your records. That will bring us back to the QFR landing page. As you can see the status of your QFR has changed from 'draft' to 'submitted'. If you wish to make any changes you can contact the helpdesk to request it to be reopened.

On behalf of the Department, Forms Administration complete quality assurance checks and may reissue your QFR to you if there are queries. If your QFR is reissued you will receive an email prompting you to return to the application. The status of the QFR will now say 'reissued'. And when opened you can now see the quality assurance assessor's comments in the form, highlighting items that require a response before you resubmit your report.

Residential providers may also be emailed additional queries from the Department specifically about their labour costs and hours data. You can either respond to these queries or have your QFR reissued to amend your data. When you are finished you can logout by selecting the user ID and choosing Sign Out.

Thank you for watching. We will be progressively adding additional resources including a number of videos with more detailed explanations of what you have seen today on the Department's QFR webpage to assist you with your QFR submission.

(End of video playing)

Kate Stewart:

As mentioned in the video we are in the process of developing a number of additional videos and support resources that explain specific functions such as the bulk data upload and they'll be posted to the Department's webpage when they are available. We encourage you to access the guides and support resources on both the GPMS and the QFR resources webpages.

If you require further assistance with technical questions about logging in to GPMS and accessing the QFR application, please contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline. For questions regarding your QFR submission, Forms Administration will still be available to assist with general submission questions. And the Residential and Home Care Help Desk can assist with specific labour costs and hours and care minutes reporting questions.

We hope you enjoy using the new system. Back to you El.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Kate.

I will now hand over to Mike to take us through the preview and publication of financial and operations information. Over to you Mike.

Mike Pope:

Thanks El.

So today I'm going to talk about an upcoming initiative to publish more information about provider finances and operations on My Aged Care. We've spoken at previous webinars about this project, which is about increasing transparency in the aged care sector and putting more information in the hands of older people and their families to inform decisions about their care. We're close to finalising the project and publishing it early next year. So today I'll run through the information that will be published and how you can preview it ahead of time.

First though a reminder of why we're doing this.

The initiative delivers on an election commitment of government to publish more financial information about aged care services. Specifically the government committed to publish how much providers earned, how much they spent and where that left their budget.

The initiative also responds to findings from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that older Australians should have access to more detailed and frequent information about aged care providers' operations.

The initiative complements other transparency measures including star ratings, monthly care statements, the annual financial report on the Australian aged care sector.

So from February 2024, next year, the Department will begin publishing operational and financial data about aged care providers on My Aged Care through the existing Find a Provider feature.

Information on providers' finances will include service-level information for residential providers on how much money is spent on care and nursing, food and catering, accommodation and maintenance, cleaning and laundry, and administration, along with a breakdown of income and the profit-and-loss or surplus-and-deficit information. Provider-level information will be published on wages paid to registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers, and Mitch will have more to say about that later in the webinar. And equivalent financial information on spending, income and surplus or deficit will also be presented for home care providers.

A reminder that this information is all drawn from existing reporting through the aged care financial report and the quarterly financial report. So there is no extra reporting associated with the publication of that financial information.

Information on providers' operations will apply to all residential and home care providers and include key personnel, a governing body statement and membership of the governing body, service provision and use, food preparation information, information about diversity and inclusion and on feedback, complaints and improvements. And that information is largely drawn from the new Provider Operations Collection Form which was due for submission at the end of October.

Now I'm going to take you through some examples of how this information will look when it is published on My Aged Care in February. And just to note that this is mock data. So it's not real data here but it gives you a sense of the look and feel.

We'll start with the financial information for a residential care service, which is what we've got here on the slide.

This will be mostly included on the new Finance and Operations tab within the Find a Provider feature on My Aged Care.

We'll begin by showing spending for the last financial year based on data drawn from the ACFR. We've done a lot of consultation and user testing on how this information should be presented so that it reaches its intended audience of older people and their families and carers. And what we heard was that the information should be standardised and benchmarked to make it meaningful. We can't just publish detailed financial reports and expect people to piece through them.

Essentially this is information for older Australians and not just older accountants and that's the approach that we've wanted to take.

So expenditure will be presented in per-resident-per-day terms to provide an apples-for-apples comparison of providers. The information will be benchmarked against the sector average. So technically it's the sector median and we'll make that distinction clear when it's published. People in our user testing were not so familiar with the term 'sector median'.

And people will be able to expand on each item to get a more granular view. And you can see that on the right of the slide there where we've expanded the care and nursing information to show more detailed information about different forms of care.

We'll also have a more detailed and recent breakdown of quarterly spending in relation to care based on information from the quarterly financial report. For instance this will provide a breakdown of spending on categories of allied health staff.

So similar to expenditure, income earned will also be broken down and shown in per-resident-per-day terms. There'll be sector averages for comparison and some explanatory information about each source of income. And there you can see we have government funding, resident funding and other funding sources.

Finally we will publish whether a service's budget was in surplus or deficit for the last financial year once spending was subtracted from income. We've used surplus or deficit here rather than profit or loss, noting that this information relates to individual services rather than the overarching provider.

For home care providers we'll also have equivalent provider-level information on spending, income etcetera, but with a different breakdown of these. And we won't be presenting the figures in per-resident-per-day terms because those don't work for home care providers.

So My Aged Care will also publish information on the average amount a provider spends on food and meals. In this section of the website which will be on the Overview tab we'll show residents' feedback. In addition to the spend, it will show residents' feedback on the food and indicate how meals are typically prepared, whether it's onsite or offsite and the proportion, and whether food is typically cooked from fresh, chilled or frozen.

I've largely focused on the presentation of financial information to be published but here's an example of some new information on provider operations and governance that we'll be publishing on My Aged Care too.

So there's already information on My Aged Care about whether a service is a verified provider of specialised services, for instance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. But from February we'll also publish self-reported information on policies, procedures and activities in place to support diversity and inclusion. So we're adding that extra information in the same part of My Aged Care.

So before this information is published on My Aged Care providers will have a chance to preview it in GPMS. There will be a two-week preview period from mid-January to preview the content and raise any errors. It's also an opportunity for providers to familiarise themselves with information before it is published and prepare for questions that may be asked by current and prospective residents and staff and people interested in your service.

You'll be notified by GPMS when your information is ready to preview in mid-January of next year. And then to preview your financial and operational information you can go to the GPMS homepage, select the Provider Operations Reporting tile which is shown on the left there. You'll be taken to the Provider Operations homepage which is shown on the right of that slide. And then you can click on the Publication Preview tab at the top right and that will display the information that will be published on My Aged Care.

So this is an example of how that will look within the preview function. On the left-hand side you can see there are separate sections for information at an approved provider level and then for each residential and home care service operated by that provider.

So due to the time limitations today we won't go through all of the data that you'll be able to preview there but we do want to provide you with some examples so you know how the information may look when you preview it in GPMS. And while the information is the same as that which will be published on My Aged Care, it does not have the exact same look and feel or include all the contextual information that will accompany the information when it's on My Aged Care.

So here's an example of how some of the financial information will look on the provider preview in GPMS. This slide shows mock data on staff wages information for both home care and residential care. The slide also shows annual expenditure information for a home care provider which matches the presentation on My Aged Care.

One point to note here is the purple pills – and you can see one is listed there or highlighted there in red – which indicates where the information has been drawn from. And in the case of wages information here, it's from the quarterly financial report. So this is intended to help providers cross-check the information against the data that they've reported if you wish.

Here's an example of how some of the operational information will look in the provider preview. You can see information on key personnel for the provider, information on policies and procedures to support diversity and inclusion and a summary of feedback, complaints and improvements. Again the purple pills that are highlighted there indicate that the information has been drawn from the approved Provider Operations Collection Form.

So we'll provide detailed user guides and FAQs on the Department's website and on GPMS, along with contact channels that you can get in touch if you're having issues at the point of preview or when the information is published.

If you have any concerns regarding the information that's presented, please act within 14 days of receiving the notification that the information is available to preview and that will allow us to consider that information ahead of it being published.

You can always get in touch via the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline. And for more information on how to access and navigate GPMS you can go to the Government Provider Management System webpage. But we'll also provide some direct contact channels through our information page ahead of the publication.

So finally a reminder of key dates. Data for the '22-23 financial year and for Quarter 1 of '23-24 has already been submitted by providers over the July to October, largely through the ACFR, the QFR and the new Provider Operations Collection Form. So the data has already been collected typically.

Data will then be collated and will be available to preview through GPMS and for providers to raise any issues over a two-week period from mid-January. And the information will then be published on My Aged Care for the first time from mid-February.

Data will then be updated quarterly for new QFR data and annually for new ACFR and provider operations data and you'll get to preview the new data on each occasion.

So for further information about what has been discussed today you can email us at the email address that we've listed there for aged care enquiries. You can visit our information page on the Department's website which is titled Aged Care Provider Reporting. And if you encounter issues with previewing the information or when it's published your first port of call is to contact the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline but we'll provide some other resources in our Departmental website ahead of then.

I'll now hand over to Mitch Docking for an update on wages information. Thanks all.

Mitch Docking:

Thanks Mike. My name is Mitch Docking and I am the Acting Director of the Aged Care Wages Team. I'll briefly review the new questions in the quarterly financial report on aged care wages and provide an update on how we plan to use and publish this information.

As I'm sure you're all aware the government is investing $11.3 billion to support the 15% increase to wages for many aged care workers as determined by the Fair Work Commission aged care work value case.

This funding has been rolled out across each of the aged care programs. And since the 30th of June 2023 many aged care workers have benefited from higher wages across the country.

The changes to our reporting aim to ensure accountability and assurance for this funding.

We want to be able to see this significant investment is being used as intended which is going into the pockets of aged care workers. So starting in Quarter 4 of the '22-23 financial year the QFR collected minimum and maximum hourly wage rates of pay for direct care workers, including enrolled nurses, registered nurses, personal care workers and home care workers, and information on the primary way direct and indirect care workers are paid, whether that is through awards, enterprise agreements or individual agreements.

And in December, just next month, the Department will be publishing a one-off report containing the information collected on wage rates from Quarter 1 '23-24 and Quarter 4 '22-23.

The published data will include all the residential and home care providers. At the provider level we will publish the minimum average and maximum wage rates for registered nurses, enrolled nurses, personal care workers and home care workers.

We will continue to collect these items in future quarters and use the information collected to verify that the additional funding has been passed on to workers.

Just a brief reminder that are our Aged Care Wages Satisfaction Survey is currently open to help us understand the impact on both workers and providers of the 15% wage increase in the sector. A linking QR code to the survey will be displayed on the next slide and at the end of the presentation.

The survey closes at the end of next week on the 8th of December.

I will now hand back to El to conclude the webinar.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Mitch. And thanks to Mike and Kate for your presentations as well.

To finish up I'll go through some quick aged care updates before we open up for questions.

Firstly we'd like to let you know that the Aged Care Wage Increase Satisfaction Survey is now available for completion. And providers are also able to access a new capital assistance grant. The provided links will allow you to navigate to more information on each of these. The next link will download a booklet detailing the change from the aged care allocation round to assigning places directly to older Australians. Finally don't forget to report your 24/7 RN coverage. For more information please use the provided link.

That's it for the updates and our presentations today. So we'll move on to some questions.

And I can see that we've had some questions coming through in the chat during the presentations today which is fantastic. And I've got the presenters joining me today to respond to the questions you've raised.

I'll start with the top of the recent questions here for me. And this one's on wages Mitch for you.

Q:          Are workforce wage rates for all approved providers or just residential care?

Mitch Docking:

Thanks El. Yes, the wage rates are for all approved providers, that's residential and home care.

Eleanor Browne:

Excellent. Thank you.

And thanks to our moderators who I can see are answering questions in the background as we go through. But I will just reiterate that the slides from today will be available on the website, as will the responses to any questions and answers raised today so that you can look back on them in future if you need to.

A finance question here for you Mike.

Q:          What financials are displayed at provider level and what is displayed at a service level?

Mike Pope:

Thanks El.

So there is a bit of a mix. Home care financial information will be at the provider level. Whereas most of the residential care provider information will be at the residential service level, so the facility level, with the exception of the wages data that Mitch has spoken about.

So the wages data is reported at a provider level. For instance the minimum, the maximum and the average wages paid for registered nurses will be reported at the provider level for Bupa as a whole. But that information will be presented through the Find a Provider portal in that example for each of Bupa's services.

So for Bupa here in Canberra, for Bupa Woden, the wages data for Bupa as a whole will be presented in the Find a Provider feature against Bupa Woden but the presentation will be clear that that's wages data for Bupa as a whole in that case. The rest of the financial information for Bupa Woden in that case, the spending, its income and its surplus or deficit position will be specific to Bupa Woden rather than being for Bupa as a whole.

So just a bit of a mix. The Find a Provider feature for residential services is typically referring to a residential facility. When you look up a provider there it's showing you at a facility level and that will be clear from the presentation on My Aged Care. Whereas for home care providers it's typically at the provider level.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Mike. I appreciate that.

I've got a question here in the chat which has been answered by the moderator but I'll read it out for those who might not be able to see.

Q:          Is the Q2 QFR due at the same time in GPMS?

So I think this is a question about whether the due dates in GPMS are the same as the due dates that have previously existed for QFR.

And the answer is yes. The submission periods and due dates for your financial reports are the same on GPMS. And the Quarter 2 period opens on the 1st of January 2024. The report is due by the 14th of February 2024.

A question now that's popped up at the top here and this one's for you Katie.

Q:          How will all this publication impact any compliance actions from the Commission?

Katie Holm:

Thanks El. Hi. Good afternoon everybody and thank you for that question.

So principally the driving policy objective of the provider operations material is around information for the support of people seeking to access services, as well as their representatives and family and supporters to help them choose a provider that is right for them.

In relation to any compliance information, certainly information that has been submitted on that basis by providers will also be available to the Commission for regulatory intelligence. But its primary purpose is - the collection process through the Provider Operations Collection Form is to gather additional information about the operations for providers for that publication on My Aged Care.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Katie.

Katie Holm:

I hope I've answered that. Thanks El.

Eleanor Browne:

Thank you. I'll go to a question now from Julie on wages and then come back to the question that's just popped in from Ryan on the provider ops and finances information.

Just going to the wages question for you Mitch.

Q:          Regarding wage reporting, how do we report third-party brokerage workers? Is it the amount we are charged, as this is not what they would be paid?

Mitch Docking:

Thanks El. And that's a good question.

In this reporting any brokerage arrangements should be reported as a zero. We understand that the charges that are incurred by aged care providers will include additional costs that are over and above just the hourly rate.

So we're only interested in the information that is for directly employed workers, and just the hourly rates, not on-costs. So any brokerage arrangements would include additional fees and costs that go above the hourly rate. So any brokerage arrangements, that should be reported as a zero.

Eleanor Browne:

Thank you Mitch.

We've got a question there that's just popped in.

Q:          Is it possible to see an overview of the residential sector data not just via individual providers, via My Aged Care, for example the range of money spent on care and broken down into regions?

We've got a response there from our moderator. Again I'll just read out to share with the group.

The sector-level reporting can be accessed through the financial report on the Australian aged care sector which is published annually and the quarterly financial snapshot which is published by the Department quarterly, and those QFSs commenced in February of 2023. These reports do break down financial information at the sector level into regional and metropolitan areas. And there's a link there for those who aren't aware so you can access both the FRAACS and the quarterly financial snapshot.

Just coming back now to the question from Ryan. And this one's for you Mike.

Q:          Once the provider operations and finances information has been published, will the Department seek feedback from aged care service users, i.e. admitted residents and their families, to measure whether they have used the information and how much value they are obtaining from it?

Mike Pope:

Yeah. Thanks El. And thanks Ryan. I think it's a really good question.

Look we've done a fair bit of user testing, consultation in advance of this. We hope to get it right but I'm under no illusions that we'll get the publication perfect from the start. And so we'll absolutely I think be really interested in how that information is being used and how older people and their families are interpreting that information and what they're interested in and what they're not. And I think we'll be very keen to get that feedback and then to adjust the publication over time.

So I'll say as well, I think we can be frank and say I don't expect that the financial information will be the first order - you know how much a provider is spending on this or that will be the first order of information for someone choosing one service over another. I think we're expecting that star-ratings information about the providers' reputation and the quality of care will be the first things that people look to when they're choosing a provider.

And so this information is intended to complement that and to provide an additional set of information that can be used to support informed discussions with residential providers and home care providers about the services that they offer. And we'll then get a feel over time for what people are finding most useful. So we'll take those soundings and we'll adjust over time would be my answer.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Mike. And agreed, Ryan I think that is a really fantastic question. And it will be really important to assess over time to ensure that the information is useful and is accessible and is ultimately meeting the purpose for which we're seeking to publish it. So we will be keeping an eye on that over time.

A question just popped in from Nick and this one is on the QFR. So Kate I'll read it out and hand over to you.

Q:          Is the Department aware that Quarter 4 '22-23 had one more pay period than Quarter 1 '23-24? Additionally there were significantly more public holidays in Quarter 4 '22-23 when comparing wages between two periods.

And there's a response there from the moderator that total wages labour costs will not be published for Quarter 4, that hourly wage rates will be published for Quarter 4 and will not be affected by the number of pay periods in the quarter.

Kate I'm not sure if you or Mitch do have anything to add. Please feel free.

Kate Stewart:

Thanks El.

Mitch Dowling:

Sorry. I think the moderator answered that well but over to you Kate.

Kate Stewart:

Yes El the moderator has answered that, in that it is the hourly rates that are published. And also, and Mike can correct me if I'm wrong, with the financial information to be published on My Aged Care the costs are at a per-resident-per-day basis. So that takes into account if there's differences in pay periods in different quarters.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Kate. Thanks Mitch.

It looks like we've gone through the questions that have already popped into the chat. I'd encourage people to have a think if there are other questions you'd like to ask on any of the presentations that we've covered today.

I know we have done a few webinars recently on related topics, including on the QFR and in the lead-up to going live on the provider ops and dollars to care. So it's possible that for some on the call today you've seen some of our previous webinars and may not have further questions but we're really happy to work through any you do have today.

I see there's one popped in now from Anonymous.

Q:          Are the items not in the QFR currently only going to be derived by ACFR submissions or will the QFR be extended to capture all information, e.g. admin and accommodation expenses each quarter?

And the response here is that QFR will not be expanded to be as big, as the ACFR is intended to be a shorter report.

I can just add to that briefly that the QFR is intended to provide a shorter and more up-to-date snapshot on the financial state of the sector, and also for the Department and the Commission to use to monitor risks, including viability risks in the sector. But we are conscious that it is a significant burden on providers. And for that reason we designed the QFR to be shorter and it doesn't collect the same expansive set of questions and information that you'll find in the ACFR.

I've got one here for you Katie on provider operations.

Q:          What if I haven't yet submitted my Provider Operations Collection Form?

Katie Holm:

Thanks El.

So that's a good question. And as Mike commented in the presentation the Provider Operations Collection Form was due to be submitted to the Department by the 31st of October this year. And as I mentioned earlier the purpose of that form is to collect information so that we can provide that to older people seeking to access additional information about aged care providers to help inform their choice.

We are aware that some providers have experienced a couple of technical glitches in trying to submit their form. We've been working very closely with those providers. And they've contacted us and we've had mutual contact about the delay in the submission of their reporting.

Certainly if you haven't submitted your Collection Form I urge you to do that as soon as possible. The information is required for preview in January ahead of publication in February and Mike took us through those dates.

We certainly appreciate that it's a new reporting requirement for residential and home care providers. We encourage you to use the learnings from this first collection, including the importance of maintaining your GPMS contacts, that's really critical, and the time taken for your internal approval process. We know that this is the first exercise and sweep using the form and the upcoming preview.

Adhering to those and learning from the experience will certainly help improve next year's submission and the smooth running of that. So if you haven't submitted your form I really strongly urge you to do that as soon as possible. Or please reach out to us if you're having difficulty.

Thanks El.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Katie.

And there's a question here and this one – sorry Katie I'm not sure if you just touched on this in your answer.

Q:          Just wanting to know when providers will know when the preview is available? So how will I know when the preview is available?

Katie Holm:

The date available for the preview is the – I'm just going to check that because I don't want to give the wrong date.

Mike Pope:

We're expecting it in the week beginning the 17th of ...

Katie Holm:

The 19th. Sorry.

Mike Pope:    

17th of January for the preview period.

Katie Holm:

17th of January.

Mike Pope:

Sometime in that week. But we'll be sending out a notification through GPMS. And we'll also send out an email ahead of that first preview period opening. And we'll also be highlighting that the preview period is commencing through the regular newsletters and communications from the Department. So we'll have a range of different ways of getting the message out.

And I saw there was a separate question from Ryan saying:

Q:          Which users will be advised that the reporting preview is available in mid to late January?

So I think through the GPMS notification system that would come to the GPMS administrators within your organisation, and they'll have the access I guess to then login at that time and review the information themselves. But we'll be working through a few different channels to make sure we get the message out at that time.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Mike and Katie.

Just a question now from Chris.

Q:          Does the QFR and the annual financial report give the range-of-care minutes?

And there's a response there from the moderator. Average care minutes from the ACFR will be published in the Financial Report on the Australian Aged Care Sector, that's the FRAACS report. And from the quarterly financial reporting it's published at the sector level through the quarterly financial snapshot.

Of course that links to a really important aspect of the QFR in terms of it allowing us to monitor more closely the care minutes that are being delivered which of course flow through to the star ratings. And of course to inform the additional publication of information through these transparency measures.

I'm just having a look now to see if we've had any other questions pop in and I'm just doing a little trawl to make sure I've picked up on all of the ones in the chat.

Mike Pope:

Can I just jump in El in relation to an earlier question about whether the Department's aware that there are many more – there we go. We've got a follow-up question about the public holiday point, that there's more in Quarter 4 than there is in subsequent quarters.

The first thing I'll say is that I, like many people, are very aware that all the public holidays suddenly end in the middle of the year and that there's very few in the second half of the year to keep you going through until Christmas. So we're certainly aware of that from a personal standpoint. But I think there's a point there about the periods with public holidays are more expensive and that that would result in a higher average cost-per-hour in those pay periods.

And I could probably throw to Mitch for a detailed response to that. But I think if that's flowing through that'll be one of the reasons why you might have higher average pay in one period over another. And there'll be other reasons for that as well, for differences of that kind, not just in relation to the wages information but where you're making comparisons between for instance the spending of one provider versus another on a per-resident-per-day basis.

For instance on care there'll be a number of different reasons why one provider might spend more than another. And that could include for instance that one provider has higher residents in their service with a higher acuity of needs. Or that they are delivering services in a regional or remote area and that means that costs are higher for them than a provider who's delivering services in a metropolitan area.

So there'll be a number of different reasons why spending or wages will be higher for one period over another or one provider over another. And we'll be looking to provide some context to the information that we're publishing that gives older people who are looking at the information some clues as to what some of those reasons might be without trying to be comprehensive.

We won't be able to answer every question in relation to every service or to every data point. But we want to make sure that people are aware that there can be a lot going on under the surface, behind the data that's been published. And ensuring that they can be aware of that and then perhaps ask their provider to talk through what's happening for their particular circumstances.

Eleanor Browne:

Thanks Mike.

And I think there was a question in the chat, I can't see now, but about whether the questioner is able to get in touch with further queries on this. And absolutely, very happy to discuss this further. And we do have agedcareenquiries@health.gov.au. And happy to get in touch with you directly to discuss.

It looks like we don't have any additional questions in the chat for now. I'll give people a moment to have a think if there are any last burning questions popping into your mind that you want to settle or discuss today. But I might just pause for a few seconds before I move on to do the wrap-up from the session today.

I would really like to thank all of you for your time and your attendance. I know it is a really busy time of year. Arguably it's always a busy time of year in aged care but I know the lead-up to the end of the year can feel particularly frantic and it starts early. So we do really appreciate you joining us and for your engagement today.

That really brings us to the end of our time together. As I mentioned we will publish the questions and answers from today's session on our website and send you the link to the resources, along with the webinar recording in the coming weeks.

As mentioned previously please be sure to subscribe to the Your Aged Care Update Newsletter through the Aged Care Engagement Hub to stay up to date with important updates including those regarding reporting.

And when this webinar finishes we'll be sending you out a short survey that will pop up in your browser. It takes about one minute to fill in and there are three questions. We'd really appreciate it if you could take a moment to help us improve our webinars. And I'd really like to thank you all for joining us this afternoon. And thank you to our presenters.

Thanks all.

[Closing visual of slide with speakers connecting via videoconference and visible in grid formation on screen]

 

Questions and answers

Presenters

  • Eleanor Browne – Assistant Secretary, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch
  • Kate Stewart – Director, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch
  • Mike Pope – Director, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch
  • Mitch Docking – Acting Director, Aged Care Workforce Branch
  • Katie Holm – Assistant Secretary, Strengthening Providers Branch

About the webinar

Publishing financial data collected from providers was an election commitment of the Australian Government.

This commitment followed findings by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety that older Australians should have access to more detailed and frequent information about aged care providers. 

This was intended to empower care recipients to make more informed care decisions and increase general accountability and transparency.

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