Quarterly Financial Report – what’s changed

This webinar is for providers of aged care. We provide details on up-coming changes to the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR).

Health sector
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Quarterly Financial Reporting

Thursday, 5 October 2023

Presented by:


Mike Pope

Acting Assistant Secretary, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch


Kate Stewart

Director, Quarterly Financial Report Project, Acting Director, Financial Reporting Analysis

Emma Gleeson

Assistant Secretary, Aged Care Workforce Branch

Mark Richardson

Assistant Secretary, Residential Care Funding Reform Branch

[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]

Mike Pope:

Hi everyone. Thanks for joining us for this webinar today. My name’s Mike Pope and I’m from the Department of Health and Aged Care and I’m going to be hosting the event. I’m joined here today by Kate Stewart, Mark Richardson and Emma Cook.

Before we begin though I’ll start by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the lands on which we’re all meeting today. For me here in Canberra that’s the Ngunnawal people. And I’d like to recognise their Elders past and present and any other people or families with connection to the ACT region. And I’d also like to extend that respect to any other Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who may be joining the webinar today.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Quarterly Financial Reporting: What’s changed?’, ‘agedcareengagement.health.gov.au’, ‘5 October 2023’]

So today we’re going to be talking about transparency with a focus on Quarterly Financial Reporting. And we’ve got quite a bit to cover over the next hour. First we’ll have an overview presentation from Kate Stewart on the Quarterly Financial Report or the QFR including what’s changed this time around. After that Emma Gleeson will discuss reporting requirements on wages and how that information will be published later this year. And Mark Richardson will talk about some issues and changes relating to residential care reporting. And finally I’ll finish up by running through how the QFR data is published in a few different ways.

There will be a Q&A session at the end of the webinar. You can lodge any questions in the Slido box on the right hand side of your screen and we’ll try to respond to as many of those questions as possible at the end. All questions and answers though including those we don’t get to will be made available at the end of the webinar. There’s no option for attendees to turn on their video or microphone but the session will be recorded and uploaded onto our website along with the slides.

So to kick us off I’ll hand over to Kate Stewart.

Kate Stewart:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR – Quarter 1 2023-24’, ‘Kate Stewart’, ‘Director’, ‘Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch’]

Good afternoon. My name is Kate Stewart and I am a Director in the Structural Adjustment and Strategy Branch. Our branch has overall responsibility for the QFR and ACFR data collections and we collaborate with other branches in the Aged Care Group to collect information on their behalf. You will hear from some of those areas today. I am going to tell you about the changes to the QFR in the Quarter 1 as well as key information on how to complete the declaration and the helpdesks that are available to you.

I want to start by explaining why the Department collects the QFR. The QFR was introduced following the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which identified that more timely information was critical to good prudential regulation and financial oversight. Both the Department as the system governor and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission as the prudential regulator use the information collected in the QFR.

The QFR data allows the Department to conduct more timely analysis of the sector’s financial performance and viability. You will hear later in the webinar about the quarterly financial snapshot that the Department publishes from the QFR data.

The Department uses QFR information to monitor the delivery of care minutes which are also used in calculating star ratings which allows older Australians to make more informed choices about their care. The data is also used by the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority to inform the AN-ACC funding model.

From 1st of July this year the function of monitoring the financial viability of providers transferred from the Department to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission. The Commission uses the QFR information along with other information about individual providers to identify providers at risk. The Commission will reach out to providers to better understand their situation and aim to prevent emerging risks from becoming issues that have the potential to impact older Australians receiving care. At times the Commission may consult with the Department where it is considered that a provider may potentially benefit from being invited to apply for some form of program support.

We receive questions from providers about why they need to submit a QFR in addition to the ACFR. As I mentioned in the last slide the QFR data allows more timely analysis of the sector and is used for the monitoring of care minutes, the star ratings system and AN-ACC pricing. The ACFR data is far more comprehensive and needs to be supported by audited financial statements. The ACFR also includes the annual prudential compliance statement which the Department collects on behalf of the Commission.

There are a number of changes to the form in Quarter 1. A new question asking providers to attest to having passed on additional funding for the recent wage increase has been added to both the residential and home care viability and prudential compliance sections. Emma Gleeson will talk further about this later in the webinar.

Bed licences has been removed from depreciation and amortisation expense and a new item for the amortisation and impairment of bed licences has been added to the year to date financial statement section. Mark Richardson will talk later in the webinar about the changes to the residential care labour costs and hours reporting section.

There is a new section for residential aged care homes that shows direct care labour cost data items on a per resident per day basis. These items are auto calculated for you based on the information you provide on the residential labour costs and hours paid. This data has been added in preparation for the service level data to be published on the My Aged Care website from February 2024. You will hear more about this from Mike later in the webinar.

In the food and nutrition reporting you will now have to report the food preparation model such as cook fresh, cook chill, cook freeze for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The total cost of contract has also been removed from on and off site contract catering.

There are specific requirements including legislative requirements about who can sign the declaration that need to be met when completing and submitting the QFR declaration. Forms Administration on behalf of the Department checks each declaration to ensure it is signed correctly. If it is not your QFR will be reissued to you for the declaration to be resigned. In the first quarter of QFR reporting there were 565 instances where the declaration was incorrect and needed to be returned. In the most recent Quarter 4 reporting this reduced to 169 instances however we would like to reduce this further. The most common errors are the incorrect signatory and not having the declaration resigned upon resubmission of amended data. If you do have to resubmit your QFR with amended data you must have the declaration resigned and dated by the appropriate signatory.

A state or territory provider can have the declaration signed by a key personnel authorised to sign the report. Please ensure you keep your key personnel details up to date. A body corporate that is incorporated can have a director of the body corporate sign. For all other providers the QFR must be signed by a member of the governing body. We encourage you to set up processes for having your QFR reviewed and the declaration signed each quarter.

Many of you will be familiar with Forms Administration who the Department engages to collect the QFR and ACFR data through their data collection portal and who also provide a general helpdesk. Forms Administration conduct a number of quality assurance checks on behalf of the Department including checking the declaration and they will reissue the QFR and email you if there are any queries. In addition the Department now has a helpdesk specifically for residential and home care labour costs and hours and care minutes queries. They also conduct specific data quality checks of the residential labour costs and hours data and you will be emailed with any queries. You can either respond to their queries and/or resubmit your QFR data. If you do need to resubmit your data you will need to contact Forms Administration to reopen the portal for your resubmission. Mark Richardson will talk further about these data quality checks later in the webinar.

On a final note I wanted to tell you that we are currently undertaking a project to develop the QFR data collection on the Department’s new Government Provider Management System platform. This will create a more streamlined reporting experience for providers with the 24/7 nursing, star ratings preview and other applications also being on GPMS. We are targeting to use the new system for Quarter 2 reporting which will commence in January 2024. Further information such as user guides and videos will be provided in due course including a webinar on the 28th of November. The ACFR will be developed on GPMS in the future.

Please note that the existing helpdesk arrangements including the Forms Administration helpdesk will still continue once the QFR data collection moves to GPMS.

Back to you now Mike.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Kate. So we’re now going to hand over to Emma Gleeson who’s going to talk in particular about some of the new wages questions that have been introduced into the QFR this time around. Over to you Emma.

Emma Gleeson:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR – New Wages Questions’, ‘Emma Gleeson’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Aged Care Workforce Branch’]

Thanks Mike. So I’ll go through the new questions in the Quarterly Financial Report on aged care wages and provide an update on how we plan to use and publish the information.

As you would all be aware the Government has invested $11.3 billion in the aged care wage increase. This funding has been rolled out across each aged care program and since 30 June 2023 aged care workers across Australia have benefited from higher wages. It is important that there is accountability and assurance for this funding and that we can see that this very significant investment is being spent as it was intended. That is it is going into the pockets of aged care workers.

The QFR already collects information on providers’ labour costs and the average hourly wage rate of direct care workers. From Quarter 4 in the 2022-23 financial year the QFR also 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. That is through awards, enterprise agreements or individual agreements. 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 and the associated on costs.

Mike will talk more about the new publication of financial information in the future however from December this year the Department will start by publishing information collected on wage rates on the Department’s website. The published data will include all residential and home care package providers. At the provider level we will publish the minimum, average and maximum wage rates for registered nurses, enrolled nurses and personal care workers and home care workers.

Information from Quarter 4 2022-23 as well as Quarter 1 2023-24 will be published. These two quarters of information will show the difference between wage rates before and after the wage increases that occurred in the middle of this year. Providers will not be able to preview this information before it is published as it is just factual information that is drawn directly from your QFR reporting.

From Quarter 1 2023-24 we will ask an additional question of residential and home care package providers about how funding is passed on to workers. These providers will be required to attest that all funding provided for the wage increase has been passed on to workers’ wages and associated on costs. The question which is on the right hand side of the screen will read ‘I attest that I have increased wages and passed on all additional funding allocated to the wage increase’.

We know that every provider is different and that how additional funding is passed on to workers will vary across organisations. Some providers will pay on award and for those that already pay above the award they will have looked to our guidance material issued in June this year. By asking the question the Department wants providers to confirm that they have allocated all the additional funding provided for the wage increase to the workers in the form of wages and on costs. We will verify this information by analysing this wage data and tracking provider wage trends over time.

Where a provider answers no to the question the Department will work directly with the provider involved to ensure they understand the expectations of Government and we will seek further information where needed.

As outlined in the guidance material issued in June this year only for profit providers and not for profit providers will need to attest. State Government and Local Government council providers will not need to attest. This is due to the complexities in implementing the funding for the wage increase for these particular providers as they are covered by a range of awards that may not be in scope of the Fair Work Commission’s decision.

For any questions related to the wage data items you can contact the Department at the address on your screen. Thank you.

Mike Pope:

Thanks for that Emma. So we’re now going to have a section that Mark Richardson is going to talk through which is about residential care components within the QFR. Over to you Mark.

Mark Richardson:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR – Residential care components’, ‘Mark Richardson’, ‘Assistant Secretary’, ‘Residential Care Funding Reform Branch’]

Great. Thanks Mike. As Mike said this segment of the webinar I’ll discuss the residential care components of the Quarterly Financial Report or the QFR. I’ll cover some lessons learned from the June 2022-23 quarter QFR report and identify areas where services may want to review their reporting practices. From there I’ll discuss the 2023-24 QFR including a change to how agency staff are reported and clarification of some of the QFR definitions. I will then provide some information on our QFR data validation processes and associated timeframes for this process.

Finally I will summarise the new care time reporting assessments which are being rolled out this month to further strengthen care information being reported to the Department.

Before I discuss the residential components of the QFR I would like to remind you that care minutes became mandatory for residential aged care providers from the 1st of October this year. If you’re after more information on mandatory care minutes you should scan the QR code at the end of the presentation.

So we were happy to see that we had residential aged care data for 100% of providers for the June quarter or Q4. Our data validation work on this data identified some lessons learned for us to share with you to improve the accuracy of future reports. It’s important to remember that it is in the best interests of services to report accurately. Accurate reporting helps the Government understand what is happening in the sector so that policy decisions have a strong evidence base. In addition to this the data is used to inform star ratings and supports the costing work by the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority.

I encourage you to consider whether the information I am about to provide can help to improve your reporting processes in relation to residential aged care.

First you may want to have a look at whether you’re performing accruals properly. When pay cycles do not line up with the end date of the quarter you should accrue hours. Not doing this could result in misalignment between the occupied bed days and your reported care minutes which could impact your staffing star rating and potentially your overall star rating. You should also ensure that care expenditure aligns with care hours reported within the quarter, or worked I should say within the quarter. You should not include any adjustments that are not related to the reporting quarter. To emphasise your care hours and care expenditure should always be applicable to the actual reporting quarter.

Second remember that only direct care counts as care minutes. This means that staff activities not related to the direct care of individual residents such as staff rostering, recruitment and facility level planning and reporting should not be included in the reported care hours worked.

Third look at how you report work hours. This data item refers to the hours an employee is paid to provide services at a residential aged care home. As such it does not include staff leave, training and voluntary hours. Time spent on these activities should not be reported as worked hours.

From this reporting period we are making a change to how you report on agency staff, better monitor the costs and hours of care workers employed through agencies. The data item other employee staff, other agency staff and contractor labour has been removed from the care labour costs and hours. Instead care management staff has been added as a new data item to agency staff, labour costs and hours. This will give us a better picture of the cost and use of agency staff to inform future policy on the role of these agencies in residential aged care.

We are also clarifying some of the QFR definitions. You can see these updated definitions within the QFR report itself or in the Forms Administration data portal. And I’ll go over a few of the major updates. Direct care workers. Only labour costs and hours related to caring for Government subsidised permanent residents, COVID-19 residential aged care related subsidies and grants such as the Aged Care Support Program Extension Grant, and respite aged care residents can be included. Registered nurse retention payments. These are not included in QFR labour costs but should be included in the Aged Care Financial Report or ACFR. Registered nurse telehealth. This should not be included in labour costs and hours because it is not provided by an RN who is on site. Occupied beds. This refers to total days of subsidised care delivered to residents funded under AN-ACC only including residents in hospital for 29 days or less. Occupied beds do not include private residents or residents in the transition care program.

We’ve also clarified some definitions related to allied health. The allied health definition now clarifies the minimum qualifications required for allied health professionals. The other allied health definition now clarifies which professions can be included and registration or certification requirements.

You should note that unlike care labour costs and hours allied healthcare time and costs can include telehealth, virtual and other care not delivered in person.

Finally there have been some updates to the personal care worker and assistant in nursing definitions including updates to be consistent with changes to the Aged Care Award 2010 and recognition that there are personal care workers engaged under awards other than the Aged Care Award 2010 and the Nurses Award 2020 such as state-based awards.

I’ll now go over the data validation process we undertake on residential aged care data you submit in the QFR. We use a range of validation parameters including average hourly wage rates, expenditure versus minutes per occupied bed day, missing fields and comparisons to other departmental data sources. Sometimes after you report you may receive a query from the Department to check your submitted care data. The Department will require action from you in response to the query. This could be confirming your data is correct or acknowledging that resubmission of your data is required to address the query.

We understand that there are often service specific reasons why submitted data can fall outside our set parameters. For example it may be a new facility or a workforce pressure. It is important to remember that if you receive a data query and you need to resubmit data you will need a newly signed and dated declaration by a director or board member.

We’ve had feedback from providers that they would like more clarity on response times for validation queries. To help you plan for validation queries timeframes for the next reporting quarter are outlined on this slide. Submitting your QFR well before the due date will provide you with more time to address potential validation queries given that we start validating your data as soon as we receive your submitted QFR. We will be asking for responses and/or resubmissions to validation queries by the 27th of November 2023 in this upcoming reporting period. If there are any follow up queries an additional week is allowed for clarifying data and resubmitting.

To enhance the quality and accuracy of care hours reported to the Department last month we started to roll out the new Care time Reporting Assessments Program. Care Time Reporting Assessments will examine the accuracy of the care hours and 24/7 registered nurse information included in the QFR report and 24/7 registered nurse reporting.

These targeted and random assessments will examine documentation held by a service that confirms the accuracy of their reports. We will support providers with educational information if reporting error is made in good faith. If needed we will update the published reported care minutes and star ratings for a service. Where misreporting is deliberate you may be referred to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

That’s it from me. Back to you Mike.

Mike Pope:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘QFR – Reporting and publishing information’, ‘Mike Pope’, ‘A/g Assistant Secretary’, ‘Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch’]

Thanks very much Mark. So I’m going to finish up by talking about some of the ways in which QFR data and other forms of financial reporting are published as one way in which that data is used. So essentially the overall purpose of this – and I appreciate that reporting is a sort of process that takes a lot of time and it takes people’s attention away from everything else you’ve got going on but we do want to make sure that that data then is used and it’s of use. And so we try to publish data at a sector level and increasingly from next year we’ll be publishing some of that data at a service level. So I’m going to talk through that today.

Ultimately this is about improving transparency and providing a better understanding of the financial performance of the aged care sector as a whole and of individual providers.

So one of the ways that we publish information for the sector as a whole is through the Quarterly Financial Snapshot or QFS. The QFS provides an overview of key financial indicators for each quarter including profitability, care minutes, labour costs and time, wages to revenue, food and nutrition and occupancy levels. And provides a timely set of information for aged care service providers to compare and benchmark their performance with sector level results. And that’s similar to the StewartBrown benchmarking survey which some of you will be familiar with but it draws on data from all providers rather than a subset. The QFS also complements other existing publications such as aged care star ratings and the food and nutrition report.

Info provided through the Aged Care Financial Report on an annual basis or the ACFR contributes to publication of the Annual Financial Report on the Australian Aged Care Sector or FRAACS. This includes income, expenses and cashflow for the last financial year. The FRAACS provides a more detailed insight into the financial performance of the aged care sector covering Commonwealth Home Support Program, home care and residential care. These publications together provide an authoritative record of the aged care sector’s financial performance and it’s a key way for providers to compare their own financial performance with sector level results and to inform Government decisions on aged care policy. So for instance those reports would be of significant interest to the aged care taskforce that is currently considering a number of issues relating to funding in the aged care system in understanding the current financial performance of the aged care sector.

So given how useful we find those reports within Government and how dependent they are on the data reported through the QFR and ACFR I’d like to thank all providers for going to the trouble of reporting that data in developing the QFS and the FRAACS report.

So the next way in which we are publishing data is a new method and it’s from next year in February the financial information from the QFR and the ACFR will be published at a service and a provider level on My Aged Care. So this is essentially delivering on the Government’s election commitment which they referred to at the time as the dollars going to care commitment and it responds to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety which recommended that older people have better access to information on approved providers’ finances and their operations. Ultimately that transparency is about building trust in the sector. It helps older people and their families and carers make informed decisions about their care and in selecting the right provider for them.

So important to stress that publishing this service and provider level of information on My Aged Care will not impose any new reporting requirements on providers as it will use the information that is already collected from the QFR and the ACFR. At a high level the financial information to be published will include quarterly information collected through the QFR on care and nursing, food and catering and on wages, and annual information collected through the ACFR covering expenses such as care and nursing, accommodation and maintenance, cleaning and laundry, administration and food and catering, and then annual information about income and also a profit and loss position for the service.

We’re going to have a lot more to say about the publication of this data at a service level at an upcoming webinar on the 28th of November where we’ll go into detail on exactly what this information will look like when it is published on My Aged Care through the Find a Provider section of that site. And we’ll also talk to you about how you’ll be able to preview that information in advance through the GPMS platform expected to be in January of next year ahead of the publication in February. And that is an important way for providers to prepare for that publication and prepare for that information at a service level to be made available online.

The final thing I’ll mention in relation to that publication is that while our focus today is on financial reporting the publication will also include information about approved provider operations which is now being collected through the separate provider operations collection.

So that’s all we were going to talk through today but we’ve got many questions that have come through some of which I think have been answered. So we’ll open up for a Q&A section of the webinar now. And I might sort of start off by sending a question your way Mark to begin with, to kick us off if that’s okay. And as we’re talking through these questions please continue submitting. And I think they’re flowing through from our moderators so we’ll try and answer as many questions as we can in the time.

So we’ve got a question here Mark that says – and I think that one might have been partially answered actually. It says:

Q:        Is the time spent by direct care staff on shift handover 15 to 30 minutes per shift counted as care minutes?

We do have an answer to that one. It says yes if the time is spent on care related activities such as a handover on changes in residents’ care needs or medication etcetera. So maybe I’ll go to one which hasn’t already been covered by our diligent moderators. Can I throw one to you Kate? It says:

Q:        Can you introduce a dedicated point of contact for providers in relation to QFR queries? We have experienced delays as a result of having no single point of contact.

Kate Stewart:

Yeah. Thanks Mike. And we are sorry if you have experienced delays in response to your queries. At this point in time unfortunately we don’t have one single point of contact. But hopefully the guidance that we’ve given you today in this webinar will help you know who to contact under different situations. So if your queries are specifically in relation to the care minutes or the resi care labour costs and hours which has some very particular legislative requirements those queries have a dedicated email that you can direct your queries to the Department about those. For all other queries we encourage you to contact Forms Administration for their assistance.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Kate. I’ll share the love around and send the next question to you Emma. So the question asks:

Q:        How can I attest to passing on all funding in home care when increased funding didn’t even come to the providers in full but rather only through services as clients spend it? Wage increases were applied appropriately according to Government advice but this does not align exactly with funding.

Emma Gleeson:

Thanks Mike. And we do appreciate that for providers the amount of funding they received and the arrangements through which they received that money do differ across the programs. So we accept that there will be some variation as to how you actually operate on the ground for providers. But I think the key message here is if you’ve acted in accordance with the guidance material that’s been released by the Government we will accept that you have met the intent of the Government’s investment. So we think that that’s a reasonable means to assure yourselves and us that you have done the right thing with the funds available.

Mike Pope:

Can I send another one your way Emma because this one’s probably got the most up votes on it of those that we’ve received so far.

I’ll just see if I can find it again.

Q:        How can I attest to passing on all funding - - -

Did I just do that one?

Emma Gleeson:

I think that’s the same one.

Mike Pope:

They’re moving around for me. All right. I’ll do another one then in that case. This one’s for you Kate.

Q:        Why are QFR due dates set at the same time as most entities’ month end reporting deadlines? This causes a significant amount of stress to organisations.

So that one also had now ten up votes.

Kate Stewart:

Yeah. Thanks Mike. I think there was also a question asking why the QFR Quarter 1 due date this quarter is on a Saturday and that’s because the legislation is that for Quarters 1, 3 and 4 providers are allowed 35 days to complete their submissions. For Quarter 2 it is slightly longer, 45 days allowing for the Christmas period. So this was seen as a reasonable amount of time to allow providers to complete their end of month and then a quarter kind of reconciliation to allow you to submit. You are of course able to submit earlier so that it doesn’t coincide with your next month’s end of month reporting. If you can complete your reporting earlier we do encourage you to do that. But basically it is legislated to allow you 35 days and it just depends on the timing as to whether that falls on a weekday or a weekend.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Kate.

You may have just lost my video but hopefully I’m back with you now. I found the question Emma for you that I was looking for before. So it asks:

Q:        How can we attest to having passed on all additional funding to the wage increase when the funding increase was applied as a percentage and the wage increase was a set dollar figure for our EBA staff, Enterprise Bargaining Agreement staff based on a percentage of the modern award?

Emma Gleeson:

Yeah. I think it is actually a similar question to the earlier one. So again we accept that there’s variation across the sector and we have delivered the funding through different arrangements. But if you’ve acted in accordance with the guidance the intent is there and we accept that that is a good basis for the attestation to be signed off.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Emma. I’ve got one here for you Mark. It might be sort of pitched more as a comment than a question but perhaps you can respond to it. It says from anonymous:

Q:        Training should be included in the worked hours because without providing training to staff we won’t have a high quality of care.

Are you able to respond to that one?

Mark Richardson:

Yeah. No worries. Look thank you for the question. So I guess I acknowledge that view. The Royal Commission recommendation – I think it was recommendation 86 – was about direct care. So specifically that’s supporting I guess activities of daily living, whether or not that might be showering or caring for an individual. We haven’t deemed that I guess training is consistent with recommendation 86 but I completely acknowledge what the question’s getting at. Quite clearly training helps improve the quality of the time or the care that’s provided through care minutes. But it’s not considered to be part of direct care per se.

Mike Pope:

Thanks. Thanks Mark. I’ll send one to myself now. So there is I guess another sort of comment here. It says:

Q:        Suggestion to include dietician rather than dietetic care which makes it similar to other professions for example physiotherapy and not physio care.

Thank you for that comment. I think if that relates to the way in which we then publish some of the reported data I think we’re very open to thinking about sort of how that’s presented as long as we’re sort of maintaining consistent definitions. And in particular we’re thinking for instance when we publish data for the first time at a service level on My Aged Care next year we’ll be thinking about who the intended audience for that information is. And in that case when we’re publishing data on the Find a Provider section of My Aged Care on providers’ finances and operations next year the intended audience will be older Australians and their families and many of them will not be familiar with a lot of the sort of very precise terminology. In particular some of the financial information can be a bit hard for the lay person to understand. So we’ll just be thinking about sort of what’s going to make most sense, how can we sort of provide the contextual information that sits around that data so that older Australians can make most sense of it and sort of use it to have informed conversations with care providers and with their families about what the right service is for them.

So we’ll just have to be thinking in that context about sort of the right balance between providing very precise terminology and providing language that is sort of something that older Australians will be able to interpret and won’t feel shut out by.

Mark I might throw another question your way which has just come in. It says:

Q:        How to report agency staff hours who are on a facility on behalf of Department of Health due to a COVID outbreak? If we enter the hours under agency staff hours it will impact the expenditure as it is not a paid service.

Mark Richardson:

Can you say that again sorry Mike?

Mike Pope:

Yep. So it says:

Q:        How to report agency staff hours who are on a facility on behalf of Department of Health due to a COVID outbreak? If we enter the hours under agency staff hours it will impact the expenditure as it is not the paid service.

Mark Richardson:

Okay. Look I think I might take that one on notice. That’s an interesting one. And I guess we can pop that into our Q&As post-webinar if that’s okay, rather than providing the wrong information and taking a punt.

Mike Pope:

That’s a very wise approach Mark. So we’ll phone a friend on that one and come back with a written response to that question. Kate I’ve got another question for you which has got quite a few up votes here. It says:

Q:        Does the QFR and the ACFR cross match or are they two totally separate reporting requirements? If they do cross match then why are we doing two reports?

And we’ve heard that question before so it is a reasonably common one that we’ve heard in webinars in the past.

Kate Stewart:

Yes. Thanks Mike. The ACFR includes quite a number of additional questions and data items than are in the QFR. So it is more comprehensive and different questions are asked such as movement schedules, there’s the annual prudential compliance statement, there’s information on RADs and DAPs, and none of those items are collected in the QFR. The QFR is a very specific and targeted collection of specific items that we need in a more timely manner. And people also ask for the items that are the same, and that’s just a few of them on the income and expenses, can you not just add the four quarters together. But we can’t do that and that’s because you may have end of year adjustments to make and there’s also the fact that then your annual financial statements are audited which could also have adjustments. So we don’t want to make any assumptions and we want to wait for you to complete your end of year financials, have them audited and the complete your ACFR submission to give us that full year view of your financials.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Kate. I’ve got two short questions for you Emma so I might sort of give you both at once if that’s all right. So the first one says:

Q:        What happens if you do not employ any staff directly?

And the second question relates to the attestation and it says:

Q:        Does the attestation include additional wages on costs as part of the calculation?

Emma Gleeson:

Okay. So on the first question I’m not sure whether this question is referencing the publication of the information or the attestation. So starting with the publishing we will be publishing information related to directly employed workers. So it won’t capture the sub-contracted workers. So some providers might find that when we publish the information there might be some fields that have got zeroes against them because you don’t directly engage that particular occupation. We know that not everyone employs enrolled nurses for example. So in that case we will have information to explain why there might be zeroes in fields in terms of that published information.

In terms of the attestation I think this is one that I had to take on notice to understand the sub‑contracting arrangements in question. So I’d encourage the person that wrote that one to shoot us an email to our inbox and with a bit more detail around the specific circumstances and then we can develop up some Q&As to respond to that particular issue. Now the second question was about on costs. Yes we were asking you to attest. We’re accepting that the funding that the Government’s provided has gone both to the benefit of wages but also the on costs that flow with workers. And so when we talk about the money being spent on wages we are encompassing both those particular streams of expenditure that you do have.

Mike Pope:

Thanks. Thanks again Emma. Kate I’ve got one for you here. So it’s asking:

Q:        What data is required for reporting per meal rather than in total now? If this is financial how are we expected to apportion these costs?

And I think when the question asks per meal I think it’s not sort of morning tea or breakfast on a given day but sort of breakfast versus lunch versus dinner would be my interpretation.

Kate Stewart:

Yes Mike. I did see this question and I think I might have to take that one on notice just to talk it through with my team to ensure we understand it and are providing the most correct response. And we will include that in the questions and answers that are published following the webinar.

Mike Pope:

Okay. Thanks. Thanks Kate. Emma I have another one for you about the wage rates. It says:

Q:        With the max average and minimum hourly rates information can you please explain the significance of this info as they may change from quarter to quarter with staff resigning etcetera and for example maximum rates paid may change.

I guess that’s going to sort of what’s the relevance of that information or how is that going to be used?

Emma Gleeson:

Yeah. Thanks Mike. We accept that from quarter to quarter that information might shift a bit. You might have staff turnover where the more highly paid, say a long serving nurse might retire and your maximum pay rate might drop off a bit. I think that will all look fine. What we’re really looking for is to see that the wages have shifted for the sector from one quarter to the next and that we can look at that across provider types and across individual providers so that we can monitor it over time. So I don’t think it’s a question of something being right or wrong. We accept that things will change and so we’re really just looking for the minimum and the maximum to get us those data points that show that shift over time.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Emma. I’ve got a question for you Mark here. It says:

Q:        Can you please expand on why the variable component of AN-ACC is withheld when a resident is in hospital but the care minutes are still required in full?

Sorry Mark. I think you’re still on mute.

Mark Richardson:

Sorry. I might have the details slightly wrong but I don’t think I do. So I guess up to 29 days we continue to pay AN-ACC funding and as a result the funding is there I guess to provide the care associated with the care minutes. The care minutes are also I guess calculated based upon the previous quarter and set for the next quarter so that there’s certainty in terms of a provider understanding what they need to deliver. So I think the issue is probably post the 29 days. I’m not too sure how often that occurs. I don’t have that data on me. But once again it probably comes back to the second part of the question or my answer I should say, and that is it’s set for the quarter based upon the previous quarter’s I guess number of residents and so forth who are in care for that period.

Mike Pope:

Thanks Mark. So I think we’re coming up to the last sort of five minutes and it might be a good opportunity to sort of finish up now so that we finish on time. But any questions that we haven’t got through that still are flowing through we will certainly be able to respond to following on from the webinar and we’ll publish those questions and the responses. In the meantime there are plenty of resources available for providers on the topics we’ve discussed today on the Department’s website. You can scan the QR codes which are up on the screen now in order to access them easily or otherwise these webinar slides will be available, published after the event so that you can sort of do that in good time. I sometimes fumble around with those QR codes and accidentally take photos of them. So anyway you can work through all those kinds of technical issues that maybe are just specific to me.

So most of all I’d just like to thank everyone who’s attended today. I think we had over 1,000 people registered. That’s a huge level of interest. And we’d like to thank you for submitting your questions both in advance and through the course of the webinar today. And after the webinar finishes up now, we’ll wrap it up, there will be a survey for attendees. We’d be very keen to get your views on the webinar today and use that to inform how we deliver webinars in the future as well. So appreciate if you can provide that feedback too.

So thank you very much for everyone for attending and we’ll look forward to seeing you at the next webinar. Thanks. Bye.

[Closing visual of slide with text saying ‘agedcareengagement.health.gov.au’, ‘Phone 1800 200 422’, ‘(My Aged Care’s free call phone line)’]



  • Mike Pope, Chair, Acting Assistant Secretary, Structural Adjustment Strategy Branch

    Presentation topic: Sector-level reporting, publishing service and provider-level information
  • Kate Stewart, Director, Quarterly Financial Report Project, Acting Director, Financial Reporting Analysis

    Presentation topic: Quarter 1 Quarterly Financial Report, New Quarterly Financial Report ICT solution
  • Emma Gleeson, Assistant Secretary, Aged Care Workforce Branch

    Presentation topic: Aged care wages
  • Mark Richardon, Assistant Secretary, Residential Care Funding Reform Branch

    Presentation topic: Residential care and labour costs including care minutes

About the webinar

This webinar on the Quarterly Financial Report (QFR) explores:

  • quarter 1/2023-24 form changes
  • publication of wages information
  • updates on labour costs/hours and validation processes
  • new ICT solution for QFR reporting
  • publication of sector, provider and service-level information.


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

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