Update from the CEO

Welcome to our October newsletter, timed to coincide with Day 1 of the new Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP). With the advent of the new programme come expectations of the sector for greater functionality of the My Aged Care (MAC) system to generate referrals for home modifications and a greater capacity of the new Data Exchange (DEX) reporting system to reflect the positive impact that home modifications and other CHSP outputs have on outcomes for older people living at home. There may well be some teething issues with DEX as it is implemented from today, and MOD.A will be happy to receive feedback from members, monitor these, and provide feedback to DSS with a view to making improvements.

This newsletter reports on how home modifications and accessible housing design is becoming a more critical issue in the successful implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). MOD.A has always said that at the end of the day we are involved in the provision and improvement of the housing stock, as well as customising homes to meet the individual needs of clients. Having suitable housing is vital to the success of not only the NDIS but also the increased reliance on the family home for those who wish to age in place. Momentum appears to be building across sectors to have more coordinated and concerted efforts made by the Commonwealth government to influence the supply and quality of housing, public and private, to make sure that innovative reforms in aged care and disability are supported.

November is also the time of year when men’s health comes under the spotlight. Members have approached MOD.A from time to time to indicate an interest in promoting Movember activities, which are designed to raise the profile of specific men’s health issues, and to encourage men to actively monitor their health and to seek assistance when they have concerns. The Movember campaign is global and has steadily gained momentum over the years, made visible by growing or regrowing facial hair, and wearing the colour purple.  But as you will see from the website there are a number of practices which the campaign aims to encourage during the month, such as a focus on inactivity, which we as employers would do well to promote. I would like to encourage members to become active within their organisations to promote and celebrate Movember and to share what they are doing with other members via MOD.A’s Facebook page.

Michael Bleasdale CEO
In This Issue

Commencement of CHSP

New grant agreements come into effect.

Latest advice for providers.

DSS Data Exchange
Options for service providers.

Joint Standing Committee on NDIS
Update on latest meeting.

NILS Webinar
1.30pm 12 November- hosted by MOD.A.

Claiming Full Citizenship 2015 Conference
Overview of key themes and issues.

Other Bits
Short items of note.

26 November 2015

MOD.A Conference Update

Conference and Workshop Calendar
Commencement of CHSP
The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) is now in effect and MOD.A is aware that many organisations are still to receive their new grant agreement contracts. DSS advise any organisation that has not received their grant agreement should contact their State Grant Agreement Manager. All offers of funding will be valid until 30 November 2015 and all new agreements will commence from 1 November 2015 with the first payment on execution covering any activities delivered from 1 November.

MOD.A would like to hear from any of you who are experiencing difficulties (e.g.  retaining staff, delivering and accepting new jobs, and managing your service etc) due to not having received your contract yet. We will be happy to directly discuss with DSS any circumstances where service delivery is being hindered due to the delay in getting the contracts and the funding in place in time.
The Client Contribution Framework and guide for the CHSP was released on 15 October.

The Framework is intended to assist in developing a nationally consistent approach to client contributions for the CHSP without prescribing a mandatory contribution (fee) schedule. Instead, the setting of client contributions should be based on consideration of a service provider’s client groups, how the service has traditionally operated and the service providers’ organisational needs. In NSW the home modification fee schedule for young people with disabilities has been revised and re- released by the NSW Department of Families and Communities. It is likely that many providers in NSW will continue to use this as a reference point for setting their fees. It is not clear, however, what the reference point is for other States and Territories and MOD.A will be shortly contacting providers in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania to get an idea of the various approaches being adopted, and how these fit with the idea of national consistency. MOD.A will be monitoring the situation with interest especially for those of you who are small home modification providers working in rural and remote areas where client contributions have historically been minimal.
DSS Data Exchange (DEX)
On 2 November providers will be able to engage with the DSS data exchange (DEX) and the reporting system which replaces MDS. A number of training sessions have been delivered nationally either face-to-face or via webcasts with at least one more to come. MOD.A and other peaks have not had any opportunity to interface with the DEX other than what was presented in the training. What is currently known is that the compulsory data reporting will have fewer fields than the previous MDS and that there is an option to engage with what is known as a voluntary partnership. This requires more data entry but offers in return a range of metrics which relate to service delivery by the inputting agency. Given that we have not seen what data is to be collected in the voluntary partnership approach ( and that organisations who opt into it will have this written into their contracts) MOD.A at this time recommends that services wait and see what is involved, and what the benefits are, before committing to it. We look forward to reviewing it when it is available.
Members should note that only work done for CHSP clients should be reported to DEX. Work done under contract to clients who are purchasing home modifications through Home Care Packages (HCP) is not reported to DEX.
Joint Standing Committee on NDIS

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a Commonwealth Senate committee established in December 2013 to review issues related to the implementation of the NDIS. On 23 October it held its first roundtable on housing and MOD.A’s CEO Michael Bleasdale was invited to attend. The roundtable was well attended by a significant cross-section of the disability service sector, including organisations which have developed innovative housing models that promote and enable inclusion in the community. In addition to discussion about innovation in new developments and how these can be scaled up to meet the growing demand for housing generated by the NDIS, there was acknowledgement of the lack of guarantee of accessibility within existing housing. There was a broad level of agreement about the need for leadership at the Commonwealth level to address the suitability of the Australian housing stock to meet the aims of policy to house people with disability and to enable older people to age in place.

It is hoped that this group will reconvene at a future date and the proceedings of this latest meeting will be available shortly as a Hansard transcript (available on the website).
No Interest Loan (NILS) Webinar

MOD.A are hosting a webinar on 12 November from 1.30 to 2.30pm with Joy Webster from Good Shepherd Microfinance (StepUP State Coordinator NSW/QLD/ACT).

The greater push towards clients contributing costs towards their care and knowing what sources of funding and financial products are available is invaluable, and can assist in enabling people to make their home a supportive environment in which to age. The webinar will be a chance for home modification service providers to explore how they can work with Good Shepherd Microfinance, client eligibility for No Interest Loans and Step up Loans, how loan repayments are structured, and how to engage with clients around the products. During the webinar there will be an opportunity for questions using the live chat facility. Further details will be sent out in the next week. The webinar will be limited to 50 participants so if you are interested it will be important to register early.
Claiming Full Citizenship: Self Determination, personalization, individualized funding. 2015 International Conference, Vancouver.

MOD.A’s CEO Michael Bleasdale has just returned from an international conference in Vancouver, where he presented two papers related to housing and the NDIS. The conference Claiming Full Citizenship: Self Determination, Personalization, Individualized funding hosted around 550 delegates from 16 countries and focused on what was happening across the world in person-centred support for people with disability and people with dementia. Michael was on the International Engagement Committee and moderated two sessions in addition to his presentations. He is also on two post-conference groups, producing a video and developing a set of benchmarks.

The NDIS was a significant focus, and there was a strong contingent of Australian presenters there, including Bruce Bonyhady, Chair of the NDIA, who gave a keynote address on Day 1. The concurrent session on housing featured a presentation on the benefits of home modifications, written by Dr Catherine Bridge of the Home Modifications Information Clearing House but presented by Michael Bleasdale in her absence; and a presentation by Michael on behalf of MOD.A, about the need to consider housing seriously at the time that system-wide changes like the NDIS are implemented, given the challenge in the housing supply that Australia faces once the scheme is fully rolled out.

The session was well attended, but it is safe to say that the focus of most at the conference was upon how to get something as grand, well funded and broadly supported as the NDIS in their respective countries. One group which has been modelled on the Australian experience, the Every Canadian Counts campaign, did acknowledge the challenge of housing supply which would face that country should they be successful in replicating the NDIS there. And there were several other providers who were delivering support in the community, who had similar accounts of lack of affordable housing, lack of suitably accessible housing, and regulatory standards (based on safety) - all of which were acting as barriers to people being able to find accommodation that truly suited their needs.

Conferences such as these open up useful dialogue between practitioners in different countries and allow participants to share experiences and gain ideas of how things might be done better. Overall this was an important conference with many people committing to come together in a few years to see how much of the promise of this new way of delivering services has been fulfilled.
MOD.A CEO Michael Bleasdale presenting at the 2015 Claiming Full Citizenship Conference in Vancouver.
Other Bits

MOD.A in the media
Our CEO Michael Bleasdale recently wrote a short article emphasising the importance of home modifications to enable older people to age in place independently and safely within their homes. The article will be published in November’s Community Care Review and we will include a link in the next newsletter.
OT Week and OT Day
Occupational Therapy Week was 25-31 October with Occupational Therapy Day, first launched in 2010 to celebrating the contributions of occupational therapy around the globe, on the 27 October.

Expressions of Interest for workshops on ramps or dementia
If you are an occupational therapist with an interested in attending a workshop on ramps or dementia please email us at
Training events, conferences & workshops  
MOD.A has noticed over recent months the promotion of various conferences around ageing, disability, consumer directed care and wellness and the expensive registrations costs. While aged care reforms have brought changes to standard operating practices and organisations naturally wish to keep up to date,  MOD.A has concerns that the ever increasing costs are becoming unaffordable and may have little value to offer given the lack of home modifications specific content. Please let us know your thoughts around conference costs and what training or information topics are of interest so that MOD.A can look at developing specific training or resources to make available to members. Email your thoughts and ideas to
MOD.A Annual General Meeting - 26 November 2015
The first AGM for Home Modifications Australia will take place at the Mercure Hotel, 812 George Street Sydney, at 3.30pm on Thursday 26th November 2015.  Details will be sent out to members in the next day or so regarding the agenda, resolutions to be passed and proxy arrangements.
MOD.A National Conference Update
We are progressing quickly with planning for our inaugural conference on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre, Canberra. We are currently still developing the program but we anticipate multiple streams, including skills-based workshops, and are planning to include a large and expansive trade/exhibition component. The conference provides a perfect opportunity to deliver the latest information and evidence-based research regarding our sector and opportunities for delegates to deliberate on key issues and contribute to MOD.A policy and position statements. A preliminary program and a sponsorship/exhibition package will be available from early November.
Conferences and Workshops


Innovate2015 – Breakfast series (7am – 9:30am) on 2, 11, 17 November in Liverpool or 3, 12, 18 November Parramatta. Cost is  $110 plus GST.

The Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG)  48th National Conference - ‘Exploring Experiences of Ageing’- in Alice Springs from 4-6 November 2015 .

ACS Community Forum -  Securing Our Place in the Future. 10 November,  Novotel Sydney.

Accessible & Affordable Housing Forum:  Rights & Inclusion Australia and ANUHD, 19 November 2015.

Policy and Pulse: Australian Community Sector Policy and Research Forum 2015. 23-24 November, Sydney.
Environmental Home Modifications – The Basics: 27-28 November, Northcott, Parramatta.

Home Modifications Australia (MOD.A) National Conference - National Convention Centre,
Canberra, 28-29 April 2016.

International Dementia Conference:  Grand Designs: Are we there yet? Sydney, 16- 17 June 2016.


Aging & Society: Fifth Interdisciplinary Conference. Washington D.C., 5-6 November 2015.

Disability, Accessibility and Sustainable Urban Development. Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), Quito, October 2016