24/7 Registered Nurses Funding Supplement: Updated Information for Aged Care Providers
In a previous Aged Care Essentials article, we explained that some aged care facilities can now receive extra funding to help them meet the requirement for Registered Nurses to be on duty 24/7. This extra funding is called the “24/7 RN Supplement” and was made available to eligible residential aged care facilities from 1 July 2023. Here is some updated information about the 24/7 RN Supplement.
Background: the 24/7 Registered Nurses Requirement
From 1 July 2023, residential aged care providers must ensure that “at least one registered nurse is on site, and on duty, at all times at the residential facility”.
For the purposes of the 24/7 RN requirement, a “registered nurse” is a person who is registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law in the nursing profession as a registered nurse (RN). This means that enrolled nurses do not meet the requirement.
An RN is considered “on site” when they are physically present at the residential facility. An RN is considered “on duty” if they are working and can respond in person to the clinical care needs of consumers at the facility when they need it.
Some residential aged care providers may be eligible for an exemption from the 24/7 RN requirement for up to 12 months from 1 July 2023 (i.e. until 30 June 2024). ThisACE article explains which providers are eligible for an exemption and how they can apply.
Services that are exempt from the requirement cannot receive the supplement.
The 24-7 RN Supplement
Purpose of the Supplement
The purpose of the supplement is to help some residential aged care providers employ extra RNs to be on site and on duty 24/7. The supplement became available to eligible facilities from 1 July 2023.
Who Is Eligible to Receive the Supplement?
From 1 July 2023, the supplement became available to residential facilities that:
have 60 residents or fewer per day (based on occupied bed days) on average over a calendar month
provide a minimum of 20 hours of RN coverage a day, on average over a calendar month
correctly report their RN coverage at the facility by the seventh calendar day of the following month.
The supplement is NOT available to facilities with, on average, more than 60 residents per day. The Government’s reasoning for this exclusion is that these larger facilities “receive sufficient funding through the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) Basic Subsidy to deliver 24/7 RN care to their residents”.
The supplement is NOT available to flexible care services, including Multi-Purpose Services (MPS).
Importantly, merely being eligible for the supplement does not mean that a provider has complied with the 24/7 RN requirement. Providers must still make sure that they work towards meeting this requirement.
According to theDepartment of Health and Aged Care, “Where multiple residential care services are at one facility, the 24/7 RN supplement will be calculated based on all of the services’ occupied bed days and then paid through one of the residential care services. Where multiple facilities are associated with one residential care service, the supplement will be calculated based on circumstances at each facility and then paid through the residential care service”.
Temporary Lower Threshold for Supplement
From 1 July 2023, eligible facilities will only be required to provide a minimum RN coverage of 20 hours a day over the month. This is to help facilities, particularly smaller facilities and those in rural or regional areas, meet the 24/7 RN requirement by allowing for unplanned absences and giving them time to recruit RNs to provide full 24/7 RN coverage.
It is important to note that this is only a temporary threshold. This coverage threshold will be reviewed later in 2023 and on an ongoing basis.
Payment: When is the Supplement Paid and How Much?
The supplement is paid monthly in line with other residential aged care subsidies and supplements.
facilities with, on average, fewer residents per day receive more funding
services located in rural, remote and very remote locations (MMM 5-7) receive more funding to account for the additional costs that come with working in those areas.
Average Number of Residents
See the Department of Health and Aged Care website for a more detailed list of figures.
The Department of Health and Aged Care has also announced that the RN supplement will decrease in the future, and only be available to facilities with 50 residents or less. This is due to happen when, from 2024-25, additional AN-ACC funding is provided to support services so that they can deliver an additional 15 minutes of care per resident per day.
24/7 RN Reporting
To receive the RN supplement each month, providers need to make sure that they correctly submit their completed 24/7 RN report before they submit their monthly claims. The timing of this is important because of how Services Australia calculates and processes supplements that providers are eligible for. (See Department of Health and Aged Care Webinar for more information).
If the report is received by the seventh day of the month and before the service submits their monthly claim the supplement will be calculated and paid with the current month’s claim. However, if a report is submitted by the seventh calendar day deadline but after the monthly claim has been processed, any eligible supplement payment will be paid as an adjustment in the subsequent claim month.
How to Apply
Providers do not need to apply. Services Australia automatically pays this subsidy to eligible services.