Welcome Message from the CEO

August has been a busy month as providers continue to experience difficulties with the new My Aged Care (MAC) system. We have recorded the various problems and issues being experienced by our members and are committed to presenting the issues (and potential solutions) at a meeting with the Department of Social Services (DSS) in the near future. The Forum we held in Sydney on Friday 14 August provided a great opportunity for our NSW members to meet and discuss these issues. Together with feedback from our meeting with Queensland providers at the end of July we have built up a solid understanding of how the system could be improved to benefit providers.

We recently attended our first meeting of the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) in Canberra as a member. MOD.A’s involvement in the Alliance over the next three years will enable us to make sure that the work that needs doing on the home environment to ensure that older people can successfully age in place and safely receive the support they require is identified as a key area of focus.
During the month we also held our latest board meeting and appointed a new Director – Mr David Hallett, CEO of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (Victoria). On behalf of members I welcome David to the board and look forward to his contributions to the development of our organisation as we continue to grow and expand.
Finally, a reminder that September is national Dementia Awareness Month and World Alzheimer’s Day is on Monday 21 September. The theme of this years’ Dementia Awareness Month is Creating a Dementia-Friendly Nation and aims to encourage Australians to become more aware of and to have a better understanding of what it is like for a person to live with dementia. It also provides a good opportunity to remind providers of the role they have in aiding people with this condition - modifications to the layout, amenities and appliances within the home to make them safer and more usable can play a big part in assisting people with Alzheimer’s and dementia to remain in their homes for longer. Information on events planned for Dementia Awareness Month can be found on the Alzheimer’s Australia website.

Michael Bleasdale CEO
In This Issue

NACA - August meeting

Summary of key messages. Includes DSS update on MAC and CHSP.

MAC Forum - Feedback
Overview of the day and next steps.

DSS Data Exchange - Update
Latest information on how the Exchange will operate.

Regional Assessment Services (RAS) - the WA experience
Informative learnings from the WA RAS.

Research on Telehealth by USC and LifeTec

Introducing New Director - Mr David Hallett

Welcome to our Newest Members

Conference and Workshop Calendar
National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) - August meeting

At the latest NACA meeting in Canberra on 27-28 August there was a presentation by senior officials from DSS about MAC and the CHSP and the review of Aged Care Advocacy. The presentation about MAC acknowledged the difficulties which had been experienced since 1 July, including the larger than anticipated volume of calls and the far greater influx of fax and website requests that exceeded expectations by more than 300%. To address this demand more staff have been hired in the contact centres and call-centre staff have been given further training. In addition, various systems and process enhancements have been made to facilitate progression from intake of service request to actual referral. There is an expectation by DSS that call wait times will reduce significantly (on average to less than a minute) and the backlog of service requests will be completely cleared by the middle of September.
In terms of the CHSP the main issues are the new grants which are currently under negotiation and the fees framework. DSS are currently validating service profiles in preparation for issuing the new grant agreements, due to take effect on 1 November 2015. Payments for grant money will be through the DSS payment system (FOFMS) and it is anticipated that the current payment schedule will remain the same. Work is well progressed on a new, national, principle-based fees framework, which is likely to be known as the Client Contribution Framework. A draft document is now expected in early to mid September.
Delegates to the meeting also had the opportunity to hear a number if interesting presentations, including a talk by Dr Steve Hambleton on the work of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group that he Chairs. The group has as its focus the development of a long-term strategy for the national health system to meet the challenges of increased demand through more efficient targeting of resources and facilitating better access. Included in its review is the intersection of various parts of the current system, funding models and the implementation of new technologies. A discussion paper designed to set out the case for change and introduce some possible options to improve primary health care for people with chronic and complex conditions is now available and opportunities for input are available through a Healthier Medicare survey which closes this Thursday 3 September.
There was an interesting presentation by Mike Rungie, the CEO of the ACH Group in South Australia and Chair of the SA Innovation Hub - an innovative community of practice. This has been in operation since October 2014 and has looked at how organisations (that provide services for older people) can work together to share ideas and learnings on best practice and ways of improving an individual’s quality of life.
The Shadow Minister for Ageing, the Hon Shane Neumann, addressed the meeting, assuring us that aged care holds an important position in the shadow cabinet and that Labor’s detailed policy on aged care will be available well in advance of the forthcoming federal election.
Our engagement and commitment with NACA is based on the firm belief that MOD.A can better influence government policy on ageing by being part of an industry body that is actively sourced by government to assist in the co-design of policy and the ageing reform agenda. We aim to contribute to the ongoing aged care reforms by adding the policy detail to the acknowledged NACA position on housing for older people. This forms the last point of the new NACA Aged Care Blueprint.
My Aged Care Forum - Feedback
Our consultation forum on My Aged Care (MAC) was held in Sydney on 14 August and was attended by over 40 delegates from member organisations across NSW. The purpose of the forum was to:
  • Identify the issues that the sector has been experiencing with MAC and their impact.
  • Where possible, identify responses and solutions to these issues to be presented to DSS.
The consultation sessions were structured around seven topics:
  • Processing and managing referrals
  • Portal inconsistencies and faults
  • Assessment and prioritization
  • Health interface with home modification providers and the My Aged Care (MAC) system
  • Fees and hardship policies
  • Occupational therapist (OT) assessments for complex modifications
  • Statewide and regionally funded services working with CHSP and MAC
Members took part in three rounds of consultation allowing contributing to three different topic areas. At each session issues related to a topic and their impacts were discussed and potential solutions proposed. The day was facilitated by Peter Cranko who provided plenty of opportunity for members to explain how the changes had affected them and to hear from each other about how they were coping with the new system.
MOD.A is currently working through the notes to accurately record the key issues and recommended solutions and to organise these into a briefing document for a meeting with officers from DSS. This document will be made available to members once it is complete. Thank you to all of you that were able to attend and join the discussions on the day. Please continue to keep us informed and update us on any issues around MAC by emailing us.
DSS Data Exchange - Update
The Department of Social Services (DSS) held the first of its three webinars on the Data Exchange system for reporting programme performance in grant agreements on Tuesday 18 August. If you missed the webinar you can view it here. Further webinars will be held on Tuesday 15 September from 11am and Thursday 17 September from 2pm for IT vendors.
  • The data exchange is replacing the collection of Minimum Data Set (MDS) data.
  • Reporting will involve two six monthly reporting periods (1 January - 30 June and 1 July - 31 December). Service providers can enter data at any time during a reporting period and within 30 days after the end of each reporting period.
  • The DSS Data exchange will also provide a collection of self-service reports that providers can use for their own business purposes.
  • There will be mandatory reporting requirements as well as optional reporting of additional data, referred to as Partnership Reporting. Additional data reporting could include outcomes data using SCORE (Standard Client Outcomes Reporting), reasons for seeking assistance, referrals, and other items. Partnership Reporting may not be relevant to all providers and providers can choose which elements they wish to report on. There will be no negative impacts on providers who do not opt into the partnership approach.
Data can be submitted in three different ways:
  1. System to System transfer. Providers keep the same client management system, but your IT vendor will modify the specifications so that your system automatically uploads the required data and information to the DSS Data Exchange.
  2. Bulk upload. Similar to system to system transfer but your IT vendor will create a function to enable manual bulk uploads of data using XLM format. To determine if existing software tools are compatible DSS recommends providers contact their IT vendors.
  3. Manual entry. Providers without client management software can access the DSS web-based portal which meets all the DSS data requirements and directly enter the required information.
Regional Assessment Services - the WA experience
In an article that appeared last week in Community Care Review Ricki Smith, CEO of Access Care Network (one of the RAS contractors for the CHSP as well as an operator of a RAS for the HACC Program in WA) commented that when RAS began in WA there was ‘a drop in referrals for pre-prepared meals, and centre based day care, but it saw a spike in demand for social support and home modifications’. The article Implementing regional assessment services: lessons from WA, had the Regional Assessment Service (RAS), which been in place since 2011, as its focus. The RAS network in WA conducts face to face assessments, support planning and makes recommendation for appropriate levels of support to build clients’ independence and wellbeing.
The article reported how the WA RAS model removed assessment and care coordination from direct HACC service providers resulting in greater expertise and skill among assessors which, together with a more holistic approach to assessment, was able to identify other unmet needs of clients, including home modifications.

Highlights from the WA experience include the clear benefits of conducting assessments face to face within the home environment and the increased scope for people to have modifications done which may decrease their reliance upon other ongoing services.
Research on Telehealth by The University of the Sunshine Coast and LifeTec
The University of the Sunshine Coast and LifeTec are researching Acceptability and Readiness of Telehealth for Assistive Technology Provision. The research explores how allied health professionals seek information on how to prescribe assistive technology devices and equipment to their clients. A survey has been devised on using telehealth for AT services’ current assistive technology and telehealth practices. Allied health professionals in all areas of practice and expertise with telehealth and assistive technology are invited to participate. Further information about the research can be found here.
Introducing our Newest Director - Mr David Hallett
David has long been a member of our national stakeholder group and brings architectural skills to the Board, as well as a wealth of experience working with the sector in Victoria and a personal commitment to sustainable, affordable and accessible design. David is currently the CEO of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (Victoria) - a professional member service and advocacy association - and was formerly a senior manager with Archicentre, the building advisory service of the Australian Institute of Architects. During his time with Archicentre David was instrumental in the development and delivery of accessible residential design services for the Department of Human Services (Victoria), the Transport Accident Commission and Livable Housing Australia. As a built environment professional, he is committed to helping people make their physical world a better place.
Welcome to our Newest Members
MOD.A would like to welcome our newest organisational members:
  • Maroochy Home Maintenance and Care Association
  • St Vincent de Pauls - Home Maintenance and Modifications
  • Assert Services
  • LifeTec Queensland
  • Manning Support Services
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.
Items For Sale
We currently have a number of assets that are surplus to our needs and, as per our Policy, we are offering members the opportunity to purchase these items before they go on public sale. If you are interested please send us an email and we will provide you with further details. The items available include:
  • 2014 Holden Colorado LT 2x4 Auto Ute
  • Nilfisk Advance HDS 2000 industrial vacuum cleaners (x3)
  • Weldskill Auto-darkening Welding Helmet suitable for Manual Arc (Stick), MIG and TIG Welding (x4).
Conferences and Workshops


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?”