Welcome Message from the CEO

Welcome to our July newsletter. Along with the new financial year this month has delivered us the new My Aged Care system. With it has come some technological and volume management issues for the whole of the aged care sector and in particular for those providers delivering home modifications and home maintenance services.

MOD.A continues to engage directly with the Department of Social Services (DSS) at the national and state level to identify and address the problems service providers and their clients are having navigating this new system. We will be holding a forum in NSW for members on Friday 14 August (venue to be confirmed) to address these issues and also to look at how the CHSP will impact home maintenance and modifications services when it commences in November 2015. This will also be an opportunity to get clarity on how NSW Statewide will operate from November, what the requirements are regarding Home Building Rectification Fund insurance and to talk about the new QARP guidelines. Our intention is to take our recommended solutions to the Department of Social Services and to the MAC call centre, so we can get the system working better for clients and providers. I will inform you directly once the venue and other details are confirmed. I encourage you to attend if you can and look forward to seeing as many members there as possible.

While much of our time has been spent talking with members about the new MAC system, we have continued to work on our position statements, which will articulate how home modifications can impact on disability and aged care, and how both of those systems can, ideally, accommodate our services to extend the provision of quality modifications to an increasing number and diversity of people. We are now members of the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) and are preparing for our first meeting there at the end of August.

Finally, we continue with preparations for our inaugural national conference on 28 and 29 April 2016 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. Please reserve these dates in your calendar. We will advise program and registration details over the next few months as they become available.

Michael Bleasdale CEO
In This Issue

My Aged Care - implementation issues

Summary of key issues members have advised us regarding MAC implementation.

MOD.A Visit to SE QLD
An overview of who was met and what was discussed.

QARP and Rectification Fund
New Guidelines for application of the Rectification Fund linked to the Quality Assurance Rectification Program.

MOD.A Membership Renewals

MOD.A National Conference 28-29 April 2016

Farewell Mary

Conference and Workshop Calendar
My Aged Care - implementation issues

Thank you all for sharing your experiences of using the My Aged Care (MAC) Portal to manage your referrals. We have been keeping a log of issues raised which are predominantly around the referral process and client information provided, how the Find a Service information is displayed on the MAC website, IT issues and long call-times when contacting the provider helpline. These issues were reinforced at a CHSP Forum organised by Aged and Community Services and held on 30 July 2015. The advice from the Service Delivery Operations Manager (MAC Contact Centre) to providers is to: lodge a complaint via telephone or using the Contact Us tab on the portal so that all issues could be logged and eventually resolved.

The main types of issues we have received to date include:

The referral process and client information:
  • Referrals not going through the gateway to service providers or long delays in referral from the contact centre to the service provider. In many instances service providers have assisted clients register on the portal and have been listed as a preferred provider but are yet to actually receive the referral.
  • Referrals coming through with limited information so that service providers have to do some of the screening of clients or clarify details of the job before knowing if they can provide a service. In many cases the complexity of the job is not known until after a home visit/environmental assessment.
  • Hospital staff and OT’s need to be made aware of CHSP, the process of referrals through MAC or when MAC can be bypassed (such as in the case of emergencies or urgent need) and that existing clients do not need to be registered on MAC.
Find a Service information
  • Shows service providers that do not provide the required service. It is essential that service Administrators review their service information to ensure it is displayed correctly for all of their outlets. In addition, providers should also be able to select the services they offer using the same fields that clients can search under so that the scope of their services are better captured.
  • Shows results for providers which geographically are not a viable match.
 IT issues and Provider helpline
  • Long wait times when calling the provider helpline. Presently this is the only way that an accepted referral can then be rejected if the provider cannot do the work.
  • There is no mechanism for OT drawings to be placed on the Portal.
  • Provider fields for entering service delivery information are not sensitive to the episodic nature of home modification services. When work is completed and service delivery information updated none of the options for cessation of service are appropriate for home modifications.
The 14 August Forum will provide an opportunity for members to consolidate these issues and to suggest or workshop potential solutions. We will then meet with the DSS to inform them of the issues and the solutions and recommended actions our members think would enable the system to work more effectively.

In the meantime please keep us informed of any issues you are experiencing with the MAC website or Contact Centre by emailing or calling (02) 9281 2680.
My Aged Care Forum - Implementation Issues and Strategies to Address

Friday 14 August 2015, Sydney, NSW. Venue to be advised.

MOD.A will be holding a Forum to address issues service providers have been having with the MAC system and how the CHSP will impact service providers from November. This will also be an opportunity to get clarity on how NSW Statewide will operate from November, requirements regarding Home Building Rectification Fund Insurance and to discuss the new QARP Guidelines. Further information, including agenda, will be made available first week of August.
MOD.A Visit to SE Queensland
Our CEO, Michael Bleasdale, recently travelled to South East Queensland to meet with home modifications and home maintenance service providers in the region. A meeting was held at Ipswich City Council on Wednesday 22 July, where providers discussed issues they were having with the new My Aged Care (MAC) system, and how the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) was to be implemented using the client Gateway and the provider portal.

Many of the issues in Queensland are similar to those experienced in NSW and other states and territories, such as the concerns of clients about assessment and referral pathways, delays getting through to the client contact centre, a lower number of referrals than usual coming through to providers, and significant variation in the type and quality of information being provided about clients when they are referred. Some issues were more specific to local areas, such as arrangements between allied health and home modifications providers regarding OT assessments.

The meeting was an opportunity for providers to talk through their experiences and issues related to the industry, and for MOD.A to promote the benefits of membership. Having members in all states and territories remains our goal and meetings such as this demonstrates the benefit that can be derived from regularly networking and sharing information about best practice and common problems. A strong membership also strengthens MOD.A’s voice when engaging with the architects of reform in the disability and aged care sector.

The visit also provided an opportunity to meet with DSS in Queensland and to directly convey to them some of the concerns expressed by service providers. Although the reforms are national, the state and territory officials of DSS will be charged with implementing the CHSP and any future program changes, so it is important to establish relations between MOD.A and the local offices. Michael also met with the Queensland Building and Construction Commission, to discuss the way in which Home Owners Warranty Insurance is organised in that state. It is interesting to note the variances that exist between states and territories with regard to this insurance in terms of what it covers, on what size job it is required and cost.
Those in attendance at the SE Queensland service providers meeting were (from left): Julie-Anne Wells, Home Assist Coordinator, Ipswich City Council; Maria Sloane, Assert Services, Toowoomba; John Templeman, St Michael’s Works, New Farm; Michael Bleasdale, CEO MOD.A; Sherie Briggs and Bill Fay, Maroochy Home Maintenance and Care Association, Sunshine Coast; and Lindsay Blake, St Michael’s Works, New Farm.
Not pictured: Madelyn Robinson, St Vincent de Paul, Gold Coast;  Karen Spence, Beenleigh and Districts Senior Citizens Centre; and Jamie Matveyeff, LifeTec.
Quality Assurance Rectification Program (QARP) and Rectification Fund
NSW members will be aware of this Program, set up over a decade ago by the NSW State Council, to address issues of quality in home modifications done under the NSW HACC program. MOD.A still administers the Rectification Fund and the significant changes to HACC in NSW (ie: the transfer of administration for over-65s to the Commonwealth Department of Social Services (DSS) from July 2012 and the change to the state-run program for people under 65 to the Community Care and Support Program (CCSP) at the same time) have resulted in the need to review the Funds Guidelines. The review has been conducted with the NSW Department of Community Services with input from NSW Fair Trading and in consultation with DSS.

The new Guidelines are now available and can be viewed by members together with a background document explaining the history of the Fund and the principles on which it is based. Important to note is the fact that both the QARP and the Rectification Fund predated the exemption in the previous NSW Home Building Regulation 1989 for HACC providers in taking out Home Owners Warranty Insurance – the fund’s existence and availability to providers within the HACC program meant that there was no need to take out this insurance. The transfer of administration of home modification funding for clients aged 65 and over in July 2012 meant that this exemption was not in effect for these clients. The new guidelines have addressed coverage for this client group by the fund up until January 2016. It is our understanding that this will also be reflected in an amendment to the NSW Home Building Regulation 2014.

It is important to note that coverage for the older client group (post-July 2012) mirrors the terms of Home Building Rectification Fund insurance in NSW and is not as extensive as it is for clients under the age of 65. The full provisions of the Fund remain available only to NSW providers and only for work done under CCSP. Providers should read the guidelines before making any future claims. We will address this further at our next Forum (date to be advised) along with some of the implications for insurance and sub-contracting. In the meantime if you have any questions please direct them to
MOD.A National Conference - Save the Date
We are pleased to advise that the inaugural Home Modifications Australia (MOD.A) National Conference will be held at the National Convention Centre in Canberra on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 April 2016. Please block these dates in your calendar now. Further information regarding registration and program details will be included in future newsletters.
MOD.A Membership Renewals
Members are reminded that current year memberships lapse on 30 June 2015. We have distributed membership renewal forms to our current members via their official representative contact details. If you have not yet received your membership renewal form please contact the office directly on 02 9281 2680.
Farewell to Mary Jackson
This month we said farewell to Mary Jackson, who came to us in November 2013 as our OT, and remained working one-day per week after Sandi Lightfoot-Collins took on the role of Senior OT in May 2014. Mary was instrumental in revising our OT information sheets and restoring confidence in our ability to deliver quality training to OTs working in home modifications. She has given invaluable assistance to Sandi since she took over the role. Will miss Mary greatly, but are pleased that she will remain within the sector, and wish her all the very best for the future.
Conferences and Workshops


MOD.A My Aged Care Forum: Implementation Issues and Strategies to Address. Sydney 14 August 2015. Venue to be advised.

ACSA National Conference  – ‘Global Communities Coming Together’ in Perth 31 August to 4 September 2015.

AHURI National Housing Conference – ‘Opening Doors’ Perth 28 to 30 October 2015 .

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

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


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

Claiming Full Citizenship: Self Determination, Personalization and Individualized Funding - 2015 International Conference Thursday, October 15 - Saturday, October 17, 2015 The Hyatt Regency, Vancouver, BC.
Michael Bleasdale CEO from MOD.A will be presenting: “A Place to Call Home: Housing as Critical To the Success of Individualised Funding” and, with Dr Catherine Bridge, will be on a panel discussing “What is Suitable Housing when Individualised Funding is Involved: A Provider and Policy Perspective?”