NEWSLETTER JUNE 2017
Welcome to the June 2017 newsletter. MOD.A staff have been busy in recent times organising the MODA2017 National Conference, to be held at ANZ Stadium Homebush on 14 and 15 August. We are also at a critical stage in the development of our Quality Standard for home modifications, and a Steering Committee meeting will be held on 21 June, to bring together representatives of government departments, industry providers and consumer groups. This meeting will consider the proposed Standard and make suggestions for amendment to ensure it adequately sets out expectations of quality, and also fit with existing and future compliance models attached to funding programmes. I look forward to presenting a very well-progressed draft of the Standard at the conference in August.
On the topic of quality and safeguarding, a discussion paper about the NDIS Code of Conduct has just been released for comment, and I present a brief analysis of this below and encourage you to consider a response via the survey and/or through a separate submission.
Finally, MOD.A has been approached by the Community Care Review to provide and assist in sourcing material for their spring issue that will focus on home modifications. If any members have interesting or stand-out case studies or clients willing to provide testimonials regarding home modifications they have received and how they have benefited from those modifications we would like to hear from you. You can contact me directly via email.Michael Bleasdale, CEO
New Aged Care Campaign Launched
The Minister for Aged Care and Minister for Indigenous Health, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP has launched a new aged care campaign to raise awareness of My Aged Care and home care services among older people and their families. The campaign gives people information to encourage them to:
The campaign will be in selected newspapers, magazines, radio, digital and social media in June. More information on resources available to providers to inform consumers is available below.
Addressing MAC Issues
Members should also have received an email from the Department of Health that contains a link to the Progress and Accelerated Design Tracker. This provides an update on the solutions which were workshopped toward the end of 2016 to a number of systemic challenges within the MAC and its interface with CHSP. MOD.A was involved in the workshop that looked at specialist assessment, specifically OT assessments for home modifications, and CEO Michael Bleasdale will be in Canberra on 9 June asking for more details about what enhancements have been made or are likely to be made in the near future to fix the various blockages and systemic 'bugs' that have frustrated providers. Members are encouraged to provide details of any issues they are still experiencing with MAC to us via email so that we can continue to liaise with the Department to facilitate solutions.
MAC - Capability Survey
MOD.A is an active member of the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) and has been invited by the Department of Health to contribute to a survey and focus group to identify the personal capability elements for successfully interacting with the My Aged Care system. The invitation is open to NACA members and the organisations and networks they represent, so MOD.A members are welcome to participate in the survey and (optional) focus group if they wish. By participating you will help to:
The survey is fewer than 20 questions and quick to answer. Members can register as a survey participant here. To register as a focus group participant click here.
Assignment of Home Care Packages
The Department of Health released over 18,000 home care packages during March and April and continues to release packages at regular intervals. The majority have been issued to clients who have previously never held a home care package. The department will continue to analyse consumer behaviour around timeframes for the take up of packages. This information will then be factored into future package release schedules.
University of Wollongong Report on Residential Aged Care Funding Reform
Free seminars are being held in locations across Australia for the Australian Health Services Research Institute, University of Wollongong, to present on their report, the Alternative Aged Care Assessment, Classification Systems and Funding Models. The seminar will discuss:
The seminars form part of the government's consultation with the sector on options for residential aged care reform. To register click the link of your preferred location on the Department's website. Alternatively, you can view the 17 May webcast here.
Federal Budget 2017
There were 5 key 2017 Federal Budget announcements that related to aged care. The most relevant to the sector was a 2-year extension of CHSP Service Provision and RAS Assessment contracts to 2020 in all states (including Victoria from 2019) as well as new CHSP and RAS contracts for Western Australia HACC providers and assessors from 2018. New funding conditions will provide a greater focus on activities that support independence and wellness and provide more choice for consumers.
Other key aged care related Budget 2017 announcements included:
One additional Budget 2017 announcement that will have some impact on the home modification sector encourages older Australians to downsize their home. Older Australians considering downsizing will be given flexibility to contribute up to $300,000 from the sale proceeds of their home into superannuation as a non-concessional contribution. This initiative requires that the home must have been owned for 10 years or more and each member of a couple may add up to $300,000 to their superannuation funds from the sale of one home.
Department Questions ACAT Delays in Some States
The Department of Health has required state and territory governments to demonstrate how they will improve the performance of their Aged Care Assessment Teams amid concerns over assessment delays. States were being held accountable for failures to meet key performance targets as part of agreements with the Commonwealth to deliver comprehensive assessments for older people. The Department has also indicated that there was currently no commitment from the government to integrate ACATs with RASs from mid-2020 to create a single assessment service.
Sourcing More Quality Providers
MOD.A attended an informal meeting with officers of the NDIA recently, and talked about some of the difficulties providers are having engaging with the NDIS. We also talked about the challenge that the NDIS faces in reducing delays in providing home modifications to eligible participants, and what we believe is a significant shortfall in builders and tradespeople able to meet demand and deliver quality work. The NDIA has expressed interest in having more builders register to do home modification work for the NDIS, but is concerned about how best to differentiate between those who have experience in home modifications and those who do not.
Until such time as our Quality Standard is ready to market, MOD.A has offered to assist the NDIA in sourcing more quality providers by forwarding them details of our members that are interested in doing building work for the NDIS. It is hoped that, as part of this process, members will receive a stream-lined registration as a provider with the NDIA. If you are interested in having your details forwarded to the NDIA please advise directly by return email.
Analysis of the NDIS Code of Conduct
The Department of Social Services has just released a discussion paper titles National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Code of Conduct. The paper outlines the approach taken to ensure that NDIS participants are supported by providers that understand and adopt appropriate standards of conduct and professionalism, and that also have a responsive complaints mechanism in place. The Department is seeking feedback on the discussion paper before 5pm on Wednesday 21 June. MOD.A is completing the survey that goes with the discussion paper and intends presenting a brief submission. While we welcome the input of members into our submission we also encourage them to read through the document and make their own submission.
Briefly, the document establishes the Code as the central element of the NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Framework, which will be overseen by the new NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission announced on 7 May this year. The Code is targeted at providers in the NDIS (but is not limited to registered providers) and aims to set a national standard of conduct across the whole of the NDIS. The Code references existing conventions, laws, standards and strategic plans and seeks to encourage and enforce provider practice that protects participants from exploitation and abuse whilst upholding their rights and ensuring that the person-centred approach of the NDIS is embedded within practice.
When applied the Code of Conduct will enable participants to make a complaint to the Commission about any aspect of their NDIS funded supports, and a 'no wrong door' policy will be applied to complaints out of scope. There will be a strong requirement for providers to ensure they have a robust complaints handling system that is clear and accessible to participants. The Commission will require notification from registered providers (but not unregistered providers) of notifiable incidents and has own motion powers to instigate investigations on the basis of any information it receives. The discussion paper stresses throughout the powers of the Commission to enforce its findings on providers, impose sanctions and refer to higher authorities where serious misconduct is found.
Members will recognise and have systems in place for the 9 areas covered in the Code:
MOD.A's submission will consider any problems that our sector may encounter in applying these standards to the work we do on the home environment, and across the multiple professional and trade contractors and sub-contractors that are used in complex home modifications. Over time we will develop information that will assist members to ensure their organisation and staff, and any contractors they engage, meet the requirement of the Code in its final form.
Great news from our colleagues in Canada. The Board of the Canadian Home Builders Association (CHBA) approved at its recent AGM moving forward with a funded council called Home Modifications Canada under their governance and guidance. It is anticipated that the terms of reference and other details will be worked out shortly and that the organisation will be up and running in Canada's fall, around September or October this year. One of the primary activities that the new organisation will focus on is accredited training for builders in the home modifications sector, developed and run through CHBA, something which is also needed here in Australia. We are hopeful that a representative of Home Modifications Canada will be at our upcoming national conference to talk about how the sector is developing there and how our two organisations can work together in the future.
Members will be aware that since October 2016 MOD.A ceased employing an occupational therapist, and as result has stopped developing and delivering home modifications training for OTs. MOD.A still has members who are OTs and continue to receive calls from OTs who are very concerned about the difficulties experienced by consumers and providers in delivering home modifications within the My Aged Care (MAC) system, and about the confusing and often inconsistent guidelines and advice from the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) regarding provider registrations and a nationally consistent procurement process. MOD.A recognises that addressing all of these issues requires collaboration with organisations and associations which share our values and concerns, and has been working more regularly with OT Australia to have them represent the specific concerns of OTs with relevant government agencies.
On 22 March MOD.A CEO Michael Bleasdale and the CEO of OT Australia Rachel Norris met in Melbourne to discuss how our two organisations can develop and implement strategies which will ensure that we are strongly representing the home modifications industry and offering solutions to the many challenges posed by reforms in both the NDIS and aged care. Michael also participated in an OT Australia Aged Care National Reference Group meeting on the same day, where in addition to discussing problems within MAC, Michael updated the stance MOD.A will take on the final aged care reforms taking place in 2018. MOD.A will be represented as a sponsor of the upcoming OT Australia 2017 Conference in Perth and OT Australia is sponsoring the MOD.A 2017 Conference at ANZ Stadium on 14 and 15 August.
This year's conference, Going for Gold: the pursuit of best practice in the age of reform, will focus on quality and innovation within the home modification industry, and how we as a sector can make a real and positive improvement to the lives of Australians in their homes. Issues to do with quality and best practice are becoming increasingly important in a consumer-directed market, and in 2017 MOD.A aims to deliver Australia's first home modification standard.
We are very pleased to announce the following speakers have been confirmed and should provide interesting and thought-provoking contributions to our conference.
More speakers and program content will be confirmed shortly - stay up to date with the latest additions to the program by registering for our conference newsletter or by checking our on-line program via the above link.
Increase to Award Minimum Rates from 1 July
the Fair Work Commission announced that from 1 July 2017 modern award rates will increase by 3.3%. This equates to an increase of nearly 50c per hour (or roughly an additional $18 to $19 per week) depending on the award and trade involved. The wage increases will also flow onto rates of pay for apprentices and trainees. The new rates of pay will apply from the first full pay period on or after 1 July. Home Modification providers are encouraged to review staff pay rates to ensure compliance with the new minimum award rates.
DVA Tender for Home Modifications
Some members will be aware that the Department of Veterans Affairs is calling for tenders for the provision of home modification services. The scope of the tender is national and calls for providers to deliver both minor and major modifications in its Rehabilitation Appliances Programme (RAP). This marks a change from current arrangements, with the provision of minor modifications moving out of Mobility and Functional Support Services. The intention of the tender is to seek major providers who have the capacity of delivering nationally or at least across one or a number of jurisdictions, and it is likely that the preferred provider(s) will utilise a sub-contracting model. MOD.A has checked with DVA and it is not necessary for sub-contracting arrangements to be in place prior to the submission of the tender, but it is a requirement for the successful contractor to have the capacity to utilise sub-contractors as and when necessary. This represents an opportunity for home modification providers to work with the successful tenderer once the result is known.
UD and Falls Prevention in Senior Housing
A comprehensive study of home design for ageing in place provides good design guidance for modifications of existing apartments and new builds. The safety features that accrue through applying the seven principles of UD are an important factor in reducing accidents and falls, as well as providing greater convenience and useability. The full text of the study, Assessing the safety and quality of the indoor environment of senior housing: A Swedish case study, can be found here (originally sourced from Universal Design Australia).
My Aged Care - Consumer Resources
Members will have received notification from the Department of Health about resources now available to services to provide to people who want information about My Aged Care (MAC). The Department's webpage lists and provides links to the various resources that include a brochure, newspaper advertisement, radio grab and fridge magnet. MOD.A is pleased to see modifications as one of the few home-based services represented in the material and would be interested to hear the views of members on the resources via email so that we can provide feedback to the Department.
LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care Resources
As part of the Ageing and Aged Care LGBTI Strategy, the Australian Government and advocacy and support organisations have developed a range of LGBTI specific ageing and aged care resources, available from the Department of Health website.
Home Care Package Delivery - Information for Consumers
Resources for consumers and providers on the delivery of home care packages are now available from the Department of Health website. Resources include booklets, videos, newsletters, fact sheets, other supporting websites and interpretive services.
MOD.A CEO Michael Bleasdale attended the launch of the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse's DIYmodify app on Friday 19 May. NSW Disability Minister, the Honourable Craig Williams MP, marked the occasion by downloading the app onto his smart phone and using it to find out important information about some common modifications like grab-rails and hand-held showers. The app was developed with funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services and is aimed at people with disability and older people who wish to research and do their own modifications. It can be downloaded from app stores or by logging onto the HMinfo website.
At Allianz Global Assistance we offer a wide range of specialised aids and appliances that support a more healthy and active lifestyle.When living with an injury or reduced mobility, day-to-day tasks can become hazardous and lead to further or pro-longed injury. It becomes more important than ever to maintain a safe and workable home environment.
Our partner, Allianz Global Assistance, offers an extensive range of home modification products to ensure patients can recover and adjust to new life changes with self-assurance, dignity and independence. With a nationwide network of qualified specialist tradespeople, an easy ordering system and prompt delivery and installation, Allianz Global Assistance are your go-to specialists for end-to-end support to those requiring home modifications.
If you would like to know more about Allianz Worldwide Partners Home Modifications offering, visit the website: www.allianzassistancehealthcare.com.au
MOD.A has partnered with HR Assured to provide members with a complete workplace relations solution specifically designed for small business. All MOD.A members can benefit from the partnership with HR Assured.
Not only will our members be able to access free workplace relations advice with a complimentary call to the Telephone Advisory Service but the already cost effective, subscription based pricing will be discounted by 10% (offer not available to existing subscribers).
If you want to know more about HR Assured and how they can help you to reduce the costs and risks of managing your people simply call Damian Westhoff on 02 9083 0083 or 0404 557 480, email via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website. Please make sure to mention that you are a MOD.A member and Damian will outline the benefits and provide access to the complimentary advice call.
Data Exchange Webinar: Partnership Approach, Score and Reports. 15 June 2017
ACSA 2017 Finance Symposium. Swissotel Sydney, 23 June 2017.
COTA - Implementing Increased Choice in Aged Care. Sydney, 27-28 July 2017.
Occupational Therapy Australia - 27th National Conference and Exhibition 2017. Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, 19-21 July 2017.
MOD.A 2017 National Conference. Going for Gold: the pursuit of best practice in the age of reform. ANZ Stadium, Homebush, 14-15 August 2017.
Active Ageing Conference 2017. Bayview Eden, Melbourne, 30 August 2017.
Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) 2017 National Summit. Cairns, Queensland, 12-14 September 2017.
7th International Carers Conference. Adelaide Convention Centre, 4-6 October 2017.
LASA National Congress: Ahead of the Game: Age Services - Strong, Bold, Brave. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, 15-18 October 2017.
AAG Conference - Ageing: The Golden Opportunity. Crown, Perth, 8-10 November 2017.
ITAC2017 - Information Technology in Age Care: Navigating The Future. Gold Coast Convention & Exhibition Centre, 21-22 November 2017.
National Housing Conference 2017 - Building for Better Lives. International Convention Centre, Sydney, 29 November - 1 December 2017.
11th International Convention on Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (i-CREATe2017). Kobe International Conference Centre, Kobe, Japan, 22-24 August 2017.
The Health of Housing: The Design, Planning and Politics of How and Where We Live. University of the West of England, Bristol, UK. 25-26 January 2018.