Update from the CEO

Happy New Year, and welcome to our first newsletter for 2016. This will be an incredibly busy year for MOD.A and its members, as we continue to grapple with the new aged care system and further reforms to come, and the NDIS rolling out in earnest across the country. MOD.A will be doing its utmost to assist the sector to develop and meet the challenges that these reforms are throwing our way, by strong advocacy and direct communication with government departments, and increasing information on our new website, due to be launched in early February. A major priority for MOD.A in the first half of 2016 is our Conference, to be held on 28 and 29 April. This will be a great opportunity for members and others who are involved in home modifications to hear directly about what the future holds, and to feed back to government officials how the sector needs to be resourced to best provide the safe and healthy home environments which will be urgently required over the coming years. Early bird registration rates, and lower rates for members, are still available until February, so I would encourage you to register as soon as you can.

We will continue to communicate with our members in 2016 through this newsletter, email bulletins, and webinars on topics that arise.

Important reminders:
  • For providers that have opted to report via the DEX for the period 1 July - 31 December 2015 please note that this reporting period has now closed. All data for client services provided during this period needs to be finalised within the DEX by midnight, Saturday 30 January 2016.
  • A CHSP Transition Financial and Performance Declaration Template for the period 1 July - 31 October 2015 is due by 31 January 2016.

Michael Bleasdale CEO
In This Issue

Accessible Housing & Home Mods in the news

Latest media coverage.

Aged Care Quality
Developing a quality framework.

Aged Care Complaints Commission
New complaints scheme.

MAC Update
Latest MAC news.

Feedback Survey

New MOD.A Directors

MOD.A Conference Update

OT Training Update

Conference and Workshop Calendar
Accessible Housing and Home Modifications in the media
One of MOD.A’s priorities is to increase awareness of home modifications and accessible housing across Australia, and to promote their benefits. We are continuously looking for opportunities to promote these broadly, and members will be interested to note that a couple of articles have recently been published. Margaret Ward’s  article published in The Conversation: Australia’s housing Standards are failing its ageing population, chronicles the failure in Australia to broadly apply the Livable Housing guidelines to ensure that basic access features in all new housing would be in place by 2020. Margaret’s article discusses the need for regulation as the voluntary approach has not lead to any significant increase in new housing which includes these access features, despite the obvious benefits of being able to manage future housing needs for people with illness and frailty as well as starting to increase the stock of adaptable housing to meet the needs of people with disability - which can only help reduce costs within health and disability.

Margaret is one of the Convenors at The Australian Network for Universal Housing Design (ANUHD),the national network of housing industry bodies, housing professionals, government professionals, designers, builders, researchers and home occupants who believe that homes being built for today’s Australians should be fit for tomorrow’s Australians. The group are calling for minimum access features to be included in the Building Code of Australia for all new and extensively modified housing. The group are also calling for support for the review of AS 4299 Adaptable Housing (1995) to align with the 2010-2020 National Disability Strategy and for future inclusion in the National Construction Code.

To learn more about the importance of Universal Housing and lend your support to their campaign see the ANUHD website at
Michael Bleasdale's article Housing, the missing piece in reform puzzle, originally published in the November 2015 edition of  the Australian Ageing Agenda’s Community Care Review magazine, is now available online.

Finally, there was a radio piece on the ABC in Queensland which highlighted the lack of accessible rental property available for people with disability, which is worth a listen.
Aged Care Quality
MOD.A is continuing its work to on develop a new Quality Standard for home modifications.  The MOD.A Board endorsed a proposal at its November meeting to consult with and outside the industry about the need for a Quality Standard which would articulate the quality expectations of all aspects of work within home modifications.  Such a standard could not only benchmark and continuously review quality in the sector, it could also serve as the means for home modification providers to meet with compliance requirements under the various disability and aged care standards they are required to meet as funded services. The project will progress by the establishment of a small working group of MOD.A members, with Dr Jan Herbert as the Chair, for a limited time.  Jan brings with her considerable experience in quality assurance in aged care.  The purpose of this group will be ensure that the need for such a standard exists, both in terms of what currently exists for quality in the industry, and how well current compliance mechanisms qualitatively assess the detailed aspects of home modification works.  This is an important step in the process toward applying to have a standard specific to home modifications.
Any quality indicators and accreditation system must be meaningful for consumers and support providers to improve the quality of care and not just be compliant or meet minimum standards. This was also highlighted in feedback given to a consultation by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) on quality: Let's talk about quality. The consultation found that it was important for consumers to have choice, and control alongside a safety-net for their care. Other themes in the consultation were that measures of quality should be outcome focused with multiple methods of quality assessment involved to enable a more thorough assessment, as well as incorporating consumers’ satisfaction with a service. MOD.A has a copy of the final report if anyone is interested, as it is presently unavailable on the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.
Aged Care Complaints Commission

The Australian Government has appointed an independent Aged Care Complaints Commissioner to handle and investigate any complaint about a Commonwealth subsidised aged care service which could include home modifications. Complaints may relate to any aspect of services and can be made by phone on 1800 550 552 or online at as well as in writing. All members should familiarise themselves with the service and their complaints guidelines.

The Commission is a free service anyone can contact to make complaint that launched on 1 January and replaces the Aged Care Complaints Scheme. It will increase the independence of complaints management by separating complaints handling from the Department of Health’s funding and regulatory roles. A key focus will be on educating people and aged care service providers about the best way to address complaints to ensure care improves.
MAC Update
For those of you who missed the MAC webinar on 14 December, below is a summary of the key points:

Improvements since launch
  • Assessors now have the ability to transfer referrals
  • Streamlined screening processes
  • Attachments visible in both provider and assessor portal
  • Printed support plan and hospital primary care practitioner web forms have been improved
  • Each service and individual outlets can now be tagged as “active”
  • Referrals now available in “list” view – toggle between list and card view depending on preference
  • Providers can now view the entire assessment tool instead of just the summary view both before and after acceptance of referral
  • Significant reductions in call average and maximum call waiting times between July – November
Changes to the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF)
  • A new section has been added for carers
  • A new Assessment Summary (separate to NSAF Summary)
  • New motivations tab
Future developments
  • The March 2016 Update is expected to allow service providers to view attachments (eg: OT Assessments)
  • Intention is to gradually integrate with My Health Record (e-health record) and Primary Care Networks
  • Imminent system releases and updates will support Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) and Victorian HACC/HAS transition to the MAC
  • ACAT transition to MAC from 1 February (Queensland 1 Feb; NSW 4 Feb; ACT 15 Feb; Tas 23 Feb; NT 29 Feb; SA, Vic and WA tbc)
  • Future focus is on direct referrals from GP via web-form and eventually from clinical software
Feedback Survey on the MAC and CHSP
With MAC having been in place for more than 6 months and the CHSP for 2 months, we think it is timely follow-up with members on how the system is operating. MOD.A will shortly circulate a feedback survey to gauge how things are progressing and what issues the new system is creating for our members. The findings will be used to update DSS/Health as part of our regular dialogue with them and our advocacy for members. We will also be calling on members to provide in-depth case studies of key issues so that we can work with the Department to make any changes that are necessary.

We engaged with members last year to identify the challenges experienced by the introduction of MAC and potential solutions. The end result was a briefing paper MOD.A submitted to the DSS. The briefing paper, the the DSS response, are both available from the members section of our website.

Any general feedback members may have on either the MAC or CHSP can always be sent to us at We are particularly interested in feedback from members receiving referrals for jobs that cost more than the $10,000 subsidy.
Introducing our new MOD.A Directors

During MOD.As 2015 AGM three new directors were appointed to the board. We extend a very warm welcome to Dr Jan Herbert, Dr Margaret Ward and Mr Michael Small.
Dr Jan Herbert

Jan is a gerontologist with extensive experience in aged care, public administration and health care. Her professional interests fall into the broad area of health, housing, economic and policy issues as they relate to older people. As an invited speaker Jan has addressed National and International conferences and has published papers related to ageing. Jan has held senior advisory, policy and managerial positions in aged care, health, welfare, and aboriginal affairs at the Commonwealth and state levels. Jan has extensive experience as Chairman and member of various Boards and Advisory Committees, and has undertaken a number of aged care consultancies. She continues as a guest lecturer in addition to her various professional appointments. Her formal qualifications include public policy administration, also a PhD examining the health, economic and housing implications for older people living permanently in caravan parks.
Dr Margaret Ward

Margaret is a Research Fellow at the School of Human Services and Social Work, Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia and has been researching the role of the support worker within the NDIS. Her doctoral thesis on inclusive housing in Australia informs her role as convenor of the Australian Network for Universal Housing Design.

Originally a practicing architect in the area of housing, she became a parent of a person with disability and as a consequence, has had a varied career as a policy writer, service provider and advocate in the areas of social inclusion, housing and disability.
Mr Michael Small

Michael runs a small business working with people with disability, businesses, government and the building sector to assist in making buildings and services more accessible.

Michael started working with people with disability in England in 1975 and when he came to Australia in 1987 worked in country NSW and then Sydney advocating for the rights of people with intellectual disability.

From 1993 to 2011 Michael worked at the Australian Human Rights Commission developing guidelines and standards to improve access to public transport, the internet, education, local government services, banking and the built environment including private housing.

MOD.A National Conference Update

We are moving at a fast pace with finalising the program for what will be a very exciting conference. Keynote Speakers are Paul Smith (Director, Foundations, National Body for Home Improvement Agencies, UK) Dr Catherine Bridge (Director, Enabling Built Environments Program, UNSW) and Michael Bleasdale (CEO, MOD.A).
As home modification service providers this is your opportunity to inform future policy directions in aged and disability care and to put your questions to the Minister and representatives from the Departments of Social Services and Health.

The conference will provide practical guidance through plenary sessions and skills workshops on how to: apply policy to service delivery; create a sustainable service able to achieve the best outcomes for clients; and ensure you are prepared for all the changes occurring within aged care reform such as the roll out of the NDIS, consumer directed care and the integration of CHSP and HCP.
Conference themes and topics include:
  • Funding and Finance (e.g. managing jobs costing above the $10,000 subsidy within the CHSP)
  • Marketing and Social Impact (applying CDC principles and how to achieve the best outcomes for clients)
  • Quality assurance  and accreditation issues for home modification services (ensuring your service meets customer expectations of quality)
  • Measuring and managing supply/demand in rural and remote areas (including funding and finance challenges within a limited market place, and resourcing of OTs)
  • Person and Consumer centred practice
  • Smart homes and Assistive technology (anticipating and planning ahead for future care needs)
For more information visit our conference website. Register for our Conference email list to keep up to date with program and exhibition details. We look forward to welcoming you in Canberra.

Sponsorship and exhibition opportunities are still available. Visit the website for more information.
NOTE: Early-bird registrations close 26 February 2016. Opportunities exist for subsidised registrations for people with disability and their carers through a grant from the Department of Social Services (DSS).
OT Training Update

NDIS Training
In 2015 MOD.A and LifeTec developed training under contract to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) for occupational therapists wishing to register for completion of complex modifications. This training is being repeated in the ACT (22-23 of February) and Adelaide (10-11 of March). If OTs are interested to attend they will need to complete an Expression of Interest - please contact the NDIA offices in these areas directly.

Bathroom Modifications - 18 March
This half-day workshop will look at anthropometric design principles for placement of fixtures and fittings with reference to appropriate Australian Standards. Case studies will be used to reinforce principles and some of the latest adjustable items available will be on display.

Location: MOD.A office, L4, 72-80 Cooper Street Surry Hills (5 min. walk from Central station).
Cost: $275 (GST inc) - manual included.

Ramps - 1 April
Have you ever been stumped on access issues? Do ramps provide a challenge? How do you determine whether a ramp is compliant and meets your clients needs?

This half-day workshop explores factors for consideration in ramp design. It addressed legislative requirements, functional issues and how to work within unusual environments. Practical sessions and case studies will be used.

Location: MOD.A office, L4, 72-80 Cooper Street Surry Hills (5 min. walk from Central station).
Cost: $275 (GST inc) - manual included.
Conferences and Workshops


National Construction Code 2016 - National seminars: Various dates and locations throughout February and March.

Griffith University NDIS Symposium on Housing for people with disability. A place to call home. Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, 15 February 2016.

Video consultations: Telehealth in Clinical Practice: LifeTec Haymarket, Queensland. Wednesday, 17 February 2016.

NDS Victoria Conference: Shaping the future: preparing for change. Pullman on the Park, Melbourne, 7-8 March 2016.

Considering Digital Access - facilitating use of PCs, tablets and smartphones for people with physical difficulties: LifeTec Haymarket, Queensland. Wednesday, 17 February 2016.

Bathroom Modifications: 1/2 day workshop for OTs. MOD.A, Surry Hills, 18 March 2016.

Ramps Workshop: 1/2 day workshop for OTs. MOD.A, Surry Hills, 1 April 2016.

SCIA Independence Expo 2016: Australian Technology Park , Sydney, 15-16 April 2016.

Home Modifications Australia (MOD.A) National Conference:  MODA 2016: Modifying the Home - BUILDING INCLUSION PRACTICE. National Convention Centre, Canberra, 28-29 April 2016.

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

International Federation on Ageing - 13th Global Conference:  Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, 21-23 June 2016.

11th Annual Associations Forum National Conference:  Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Melbourne, 4-5 July 2016.

Australian Assistive Technology Conference:  Collaborate, Empower, Transform - Realising opportunities with assistive technology solutions. Jupiter's Hotel and Casino, Gold Coast, 27-29 July 2016.

Universal Design Conference:  Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, 30-31 August 2016.


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

Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity - From Margin to the Centre. Hawaii Convention Centre, 25-26 April 2016.

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