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NEWSLETTER SEPTEMBER 2015

Welcome Message from the CEO

 
Our staff have been busy this month putting industry concerns about the operation of the new My Aged Care (MAC) system directly to the Department of Social Services (DSS). Our particular focus, however, has been issues relating to the work we do on the home environment which we believe need to be better administered and resourced. We have also discussed directly with staff at DSS the operation of home modifications and home maintenance in the new CHSP and with colleagues at the National Aged Care Alliance and federal parliamentarians about the future of home based programs. The continued engagement by our members with MOD.A staff has greatly assisted our lobbying in these areas.

Just as we attempt to bed down the MAC and now the CHSP changes in October we will be coming to terms with the requirements of the new DSS Data Exchange (DEX). The rollout of training and information sessions will hopefully explain how this will work for providers, but MOD.A will monitor the situation and is prepared to identify areas which may be problematic and to work through these with the DSS.

We are expecting the release of the Client Contribution Framework (ie: Fees Policy) in the first week of October which will be in line with the broad principle-based approach announced prior to the release of the CHSP Manual. The Framework can be implemented flexibly to meet varying client profiles and organisational needs. The expectation is that contributions towards the cost of care will move towards a nationally consistent approach over time with contributions gradually making up 15% of a service provider’s grant revenue.

During September historic agreements were signed to rollout the NDIS in NSW and Victoria. We expect there to be more announcements related to home modifications under the NDIS very shortly. MOD.A will continue to work close with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to ensure that participants have access to high quality home modifications as and when they are required.

I will be taking leave from 25 September to 21 October during which time I will be presenting at the Claiming Full Citizenship conference in Vancouver, Canada (full report in our next newsletter). During this time the office will be operating as usual so please continue to send your comments, questions and feedback to our staff.

Michael Bleasdale CEO
In This Issue

Changes in Government

Summary of key changes.

CHSP/MAC Briefing Paper and DSS Response

New Contract Agreements
Update on progress.

DSS Data Exchange Training Sessions
Information on DEX and training sessions.

HCPP Operational Manual
Final Manual now available.

Changes to Victorian HACC Programme
Transfer to federal gov. confirmed.

STRC Programme
Latest information and call for feedback.

NDIS Roll-out in NSW & Vic.

NILS for Home Mods.

MODA Conference Update


Conference and Workshop Calendar
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Changes in Government and Social Services Portfolio
 
Following the elevation of the Honorable Malcolm Turnbull to Prime Minister there were substantial changes made to Cabinet and various government portfolios. Christian Porter has replaced Scott Morrison as Minister for Social Services and will have responsibility at Cabinet level for aged care. Scott Morrison is now the Treasurer and Mitch Fifield (previously responsible for Aged Care as Assistant Minister for Social Services) has now taken on a new role as Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts.
 
MOD.A and other stakeholders were initially disappointed there was no dedicated Minister for Aged Care within a policy area encompassing 14.7% of the population although we were pleased that Minister Porter would be able to provide the sector with ‘a voice within Cabinet’. However, it was announced yesterday, 30 September, that Alan Tudge had been sworn in as Assistant Minister for Social Services (the portfolio previously responsible for aged care) and that Minister Porter would be focusing on disability and the NDIS. The Honorable Sussan Ley was sworn in as Minister for Aged Care, adding to her responsibilities as Health Minister.
 
We are pleased that the government has responded to concerns of various stakeholders and appointed a Minister for Aged Care – we trust that the extensive aged care reform agenda can now be put into practice and we see the development of a coherent strategy for an aging population that includes coordination across social services, health, housing, pensions and employment.  
 
MOD.A hopes to have contact with Minister Ley before the end of the year to discuss the importance of home modifications to home-based care which is core to aged care reforms.
CHSP/MAC Briefing Paper and DSS Response
 
MOD.A has developed a briefing document for DSS based upon ongoing member feedback, as well as from two forums with members and providers on CHSP and MAC in NSW and in Queensland. The document was presented at a meeting in Canberra with Karen Pickering, Branch Manager, Home Support Branch, DSS.
 
The document suggested improvements to current My Aged Care processes and some of the key challenges of CHSP home modification through MAC. It recommended technical fixes on the portal to assist with managing and accepting referrals as well as the recording of home modification services delivered.
 
MOD.A has circulated the briefing document to members along with the minutes of the meeting (as approved by the DSS) with their responses to various points that were raised. MOD.A have been informed that a number of system upgrades are to be implemented at the end of the month and this, combined with decreased waiting times at the call centre, is expected to resolve and reduce many of the current issues being experienced with MAC. We were also informed that all new clients who are initially assessed as requiring either home modifications or home maintenance will be referred to a RAS for a home based assessment. The RAS will generate a Support Plan which will detail any work required and its priority, and specifications of work. It has been recommended that providers should also establish relationships with RAS to inform them of the scope of services that they deliver, which in turn will increase the accuracy of referrals being made to services by RAS.
 
The lack of clarity on the referral process for home modifications and referral and funding of OT assessments was discussed and DSS responded that services could spend 20% of their funds on related CHSP services other than those they are funded for (e.g. OT assessments).
 
Please continue to keep us updated on any issues you may be experiencing with MAC and MOD.A will continue to monitor the situation email us at info@nswhmms.org or call (02) 9281 2680.
New Contract Agreements
 
MOD.A are aware that contracts for the period after 1 November 2015 have not yet been received and that this is creating uncertainty for providers around accepting jobs when future funding is not guaranteed. We have asked DSS for an update and have been advised that offers and agreements to all CHSP providers are in process. Previous advice stating that ‘the overwhelming majority of current providers funded to deliver service in scope for the CHSP will receive continued funding’ remains in place. Home modifications providers are covered by this advice.The only providers that will not be funded are those that have indicated that they no ‘longer wish to deliver services’.
DSS Data Exchange Training Sessions

The DSS data exchange will be ready for reporting by 1 November. There have been three webinars (two for providers and one for IT Vendors) to explain the new system and program reporting. Providers can attend DEX training sessions being held nationally. Please click here for the full list of training locations and times and register.
 
Data from MAC does not link to the data exchange at present but this may be reviewed in the future. We have been informed by DSS that there will be fields relevant to home modifications and home maintenance as well as other CHSP service types. If you have any feedback on the DSS Data Exchange and the fields being used for home modifications please email info@nswhmms.org
Home Care Packages Programme Operational Manual

The Manual has been finalised and is a useful guide for providers to support the delivery and management of the Home Care Packages Programme on a Consumer Directed Care (CDC) basis. The only  references to home modifications  is that they must be related to a consumer’s care needs, and in the section on goal setting and identifying care needs for clients there is reference to goals related to maintaining a healthy lifestyle or achieving independence in mobility. Both of these goals could potentially be addressed through suitable home modifications.
Changes to Victorian Home and Community Care Programme (HACC)

On 16 September the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments signed an agreement for the transfer of the Victorian HACC Programme for older people to the Commonwealth.
  • Services for older people over 65, or over 50 for Aboriginal people, will be directly funded and managed by the Commonwealth Government.
  • Services for younger people under 65, or under 50 for Aboriginal people, will be funded and managed by the Victorian Government, with some services transferring to the NDIS as it is rolled out.
  • The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) will replace the HACC Program in Victoria from 1 July 2016 with CHSP funding a similar range of services as provided by HACC. 
From now until 20 June 2016 DHHS and DSS will jointly determine with organisations the split of HACC funding according to the age profile of clients. There will be joint regional consultations by DHHS and DSS in November 2015 to discuss the transition and new arrangements. More information and Fact Sheets are available here.
Short Term Restorative Care Programme

The Government is establishing a new form of Short Term Restorative Care (STRC) to support older people to improve their capacity to remain independent and in their homes for longer. A short consultation paper has been released for comment which highlights key elements of the STRC Programme’s policy framework. Specific feedback on preferred options is being sought.
 
MOD.A will be responding with a brief submission (in addition to feedback using the template), highlighting the importance of home modifications  in supporting and maintaining independence and the opportunity for this program to better position home modifications as an early intervention option for all older people.
 
For more information on the STRC Programme review the discussion paper, watch the webinar scheduled for 8 October or go to the website. You can respond by sending comments or feedback to us at info@nswhmms.org by 13th October or respond directly to the DSS by sending feedback to STRC@dss.gov.au
NDIS Roll-out: NSW and Victoria

On 16 September 2015, the bilateral agreements for the roll-out of the NDIS in New South Wales and Victoria were signed by the federal and state governments. The scheme will be progressively rolled out from July 2016 to July 2018.. It is expected that almost 245,000 Australians will ultimately be covered by the NDIS across New South Wales and Victoria.
 
The NDIS will commence in Queensland from 1 July 2016 with full implementation by 30 June 2019 with a bilateral agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments currently being negotiated. The NDIS commenced in South Australia on 1 July 2013 for children aged six and under.  From 1 July 2016, the NDIS will progressively roll out in South Australia with all eligible residents covered by July 2018.
 
Until the NDIS becomes available in each area current disability supports and funding will remain in place. People aged 65 and over are not eligible for the NDIS, but those that receive disability supports will continue to receive supports that achieve similar outcomes to those they are currently receiving. Further information including regional roll-out dates can be found on the NDIS website.
No Interest Loans (NILS) Available for Home Modifications

MOD.A met with executives from Good Shepherd Microfinance on 22 September to discuss some of their products and how they could assist with client fees for home modifications. They have a range of products such as NILS (No Interest Loans up to $1,200) and STEP UP (loans up to $3,000) available.
 
Since then we have been exploring how these loans and other microfinance schemes could be used to assist client contributions to the cost of minor home modifications. The costs of a home modification can be particularly challenging to older people on a reduced income who may not have adequate savings or be eligible for a bank loan. Good Shepherd Microfinance is particularly interested in accessing this cohort as people over 65 make up less than 8% of their client base and often know little about the scheme which can be used for medical expenses and purchasing household items.
 
We are organising a webcast with Good Shepherd Executives of NILS and Step Up to inform  our members about how the loans work, how client suitability is determined and how you can engage with clients about the loans. More information on NILS can be found on their website.
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 have appointed a conference Steering Committee as well as a professional conference organiser. We are currently still developing the program but we anticipate multiple streams, including skills-based workshops. 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

Australia

ACCA National Conference & Trade Expo: Universal Design : - A Better Way. Melbourne Cricket Ground, 7 – 9 October 2015.

NDS Disability & Diversity Conference 2015. Alice Springs Convention Centre, Northern Territory, 8-9 October 2015.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) New World Conference and trade show: Disability in the 21st Century. Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre, 27-29 October 2015.


AHURI National Housing Conference: Opening Doors. Perth, 28 to 30 October 2015 .

Dementia Strategy Summit: Building capacity and quality frameworks for complex needs in a consumer directed era. Sydney, 27-29 October 2015.

Active Ageing Conference: Wellness, Reablement &Restorative Care in the Community. Sydney, 29 October.

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.

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

International

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
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