Major Aged Care Reforms: What to expect
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The ACE Wrap 24 May

28/05/24
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Aged care news highlights from the fortnight ending 24 May 2024, aggregated by Ideagen.

The information in the ACE Wrap is aggregated from other news sources to provide you with news that is relevant to the aged care sector across Australia and worldwide. Each paragraph is a summary of the subject matter covered in the particular news article. The information does not necessarily reflect the views of Ideagen.

 

Residential Care and General Aged Care News

Australian Government 2024–25 Budget: Underpinning quality aged care

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the Australian Government has released the 2024–25 Budget. This Budget invests $2.2 billion to:

  • reinforce the foundations and connections that underpin quality aged care
  • reduce wait times for older people seeking Home Care Packages
  • bolster the aged care workforce
  • deliver an enhanced quality and safety regulator
  • upgrade technology systems and digital infrastructure across the aged care sector.

Read about the aged care reform priorities, or download the Underpinning quality aged care - Budget 2024-25 fact sheet

 

Budget 2024: $2.2bn invested into aged care

According to Aged Care Insite, the 2024-25 Federal Budget was revealed by Treasurer Jim Chalmers on Tuesday night, with aged care cited as a funding 'winner'.

 

More HCPs needed, say stakeholders

According to Community Care Review, a lack of any information about the government’s response to the Aged Care Taskforce report and insufficient additional home care packages have topped the disappointments list for providers and consumers.

 

Adjustments to care minutes from 1 October

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, from 1 October 2024, care minutes will increase to a sector average of 215 minutes, including 44 minutes from a registered nurse (RN). You can also meet 10% of your RN target with care time delivered by an enrolled nurse (EN) from this date. You will still be funded to meet your care minutes from 1 October 2024 as though the full 44 minute target is met by RNs, ensuring you have the option to meet your full nursing target with RNs. See care minutes in residential aged care for more information.

 

EN to be included with RN care minutes

According to Aged Care Insite, the Federal Government made a surprise announcement on Tuesday that there will be adjustments to the care minutes target to include enrolled nurses (EN). From October 1, care minutes will increase from the current 200 minutes of direct care per resident per day to 215 minutes. A registered nurse's (RN) care time will also increase from 40 to 44 minutes. However, the Department of Health and Aged Care has altered the requirement, saying providers can also meet the 10 per cent of the RN targets – 4 minutes and 24 seconds – with care time delivered by an EN.

 

New AN-ACC price to be announced August 2024

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, you are reminded the 2024-25 AN-ACC price will change from 1 October 2024, with an announcement expected in August. The Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority will account for any cost increases from July in its advice. Meanwhile, the AN-ACC price of $253.82 will be maintained. Also in August, the care minutes for each AN-ACC class from 1 October 2024 are expected to be announced. This will allow you to estimate your targets for the increase to 215 care minutes per resident per day. Current sector average targets are around 205 minutes due to an increase in higher needs residents. You can plan your staffing from 1 October based on average targets increasing by around 5%. See care minutes in residential aged care for more information.

 

Changes to the 24/7 registered nurse supplement

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, we are making changes to the 24/7 registered nurse (RN) supplement. From 1 July, you must meet the new threshold to get the RN supplement. The registered nurse coverage threshold will increase to an average of 21 hours a day or 87.5% of total hours for the month. You may get 50% of the supplement if you average up to 30 residents per month with at least 50% (but less than 87.5%) RN coverage. From 1 October 2024, you will get more funding to meet your care minutes. We will be reducing the supplement rate at this time. You may get it if you have up to an average of 50 residents. Visit 24/7 RN supplement for more information.

 

Providers told to prepare for Covid outbreak

According to Australian Ageing Agenda, the number of cases of Covid in residential aged care homes has more than doubled during the course of six weeks.

 

Keep reporting all COVID-19 cases

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, we are here to help if your aged care home experiences a COVID-19 outbreak. But we need to know how many COVID-19 cases there are, so we know how much support you need. You must continue to report all COVID-19 cases and deaths among residents, plus any cases among workers and visitors, on the My Aged Care service and support portal. It’s important you report cases as they happen and then close the record at the end of the episode to keep information up to date. Call the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor helpline on 1800 836 799 if you need help accessing the portal.  

 

Preparing for the new regulatory model

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, we’ve started preparing for the transition of providers to the new regulatory model. Under the new Aged Care Act, all aged care providers must be registered to deliver Australian Government-funded aged care. To make the transition to registered provider status as easy as possible, all existing providers will be automatically set up as registered from day 1 of the new Act. You will continue to operate as normal during this transition process.  You don’t need to do anything just yet. We’ll be in contact over the coming months to confirm your details and let you know when you need to take any action. Visit preparing providers for the new model to find out more about the new registration and renewal of registration process.

 

Resources and training on aged care volunteering

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, training and support is available for providers and Volunteer Managers on aged care volunteering.This includes a collection of free, publicly available resources. We encourage all aged care Volunteer Managers and providers to access the support and training so you feel confident in your role. Access training and support for providers and volunteer managers to find the resources available.

 

Updated Star Ratings on the My Aged Care website

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, updated Star Ratings are available on the My Aged Care website via the ‘Find a Provider’ tool. This update includes: 

  • Staffing and Quality Measures ratings for October – December 2023
  • Residents’ Experience ratings for services that completed the annual survey in February 2024
  • Contemporary compliance ratings.

Find more information on Star Ratings resources. You can also download the Star Ratings Improvement Manual for guidance on introducing changes to improve ratings.

 

Home Care News

Updated Home Care Package pricing reports now available

According to the Department of Health and Aged Care, the National Summary of Home Care Package Prices – 31 March 2024 is now available. The report outlines Home Care Packages (HCP) Program pricing data for common home care services, care management, package management and staff travel. At 31 March 2024, the median nursing price was $120 per standard hour. Median prices for light gardening, in-home respite, personal care and cleaning/household tasks ranged from $71 to $75 per standard hour. The HCP - Published Pricing Schedule – 31 March 2024 shows the full pricing data that providers entered into My Aged Care.

 

Comms, charges top home care complaints

According to Community Care Review, consultation and finances head the list of complaints received by the aged care regulatory body from in-home care clients, says a new report.

 

Legislation

No significant developments this week.

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ACE Editorial Team

ACE is published by Ideagen. CompliSpace is Ideagen’s SaaS-enabled solution that helps organisations in highly-regulated industries to meet their governance, risk, compliance and policy management obligations.

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