Approved aged care providers won’t be the only ones who can deliver the government’s new restorative care packages.
Aged and community care providers planning to apply for new packages under the Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) Program will have to compete with other healthcare providers, the finalised policy framework for the scheme shows.
In a discussion paper seeking feedback on the new program last September the government asked whether providers of the new flexible care packages should also have to be approved providers of aged care.
Stakeholders responded that it was important not to exclude organisations that “may have a relevant business model to deliver restorative care but are not currently an aged care provider,” according to a summary of the department’s sector consultations.
The government recently released both the summary of the consultations and the finalised policy framework.
Yesterday the Department of Health confirmed to Australian Ageing Agenda that it was developing a “streamlined application process” for current approved aged care providers that wished to apply for flexible care provider status.
“Further information will soon be available on the department’s website,” a departmental spokesperson said.
The places under the STRC, which was announced in last year’s federal budget, will be rolled out progressively, with the first 200 being allocated from 1 July. In total, the STRC will provide 2,000 new restorative care places by 2021, in addition to the 4,000 places provided in the Transition Care Program.
The policy framework confirmed that the places can be provided in the client’s home, a residential setting, or a combination of both.
The department would not “prescribe specific care and services that must be provided under the STRC,” with providers encouraged to develop individualised approaches.
To ensure a “holistic multidisciplinary approach,” providers would be expected to work with other services and health professionals in delivery of the STRC places, the framework said.
Quality and oversight
During consultations with the department, stakeholders were clear that a new quality framework covering the STRC should not be created as a common quality framework for community and residential aged care was in development.
Given there were no flexible care standards in the current Quality of Care Principles 2014, the standards covering the STRC would be drawn from the existing aged care quality standards covering, the framework said.
The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency would provide oversight of ongoing delivery of the STRC places, it confirmed.
With regards to accreditation of those organisations that were not approved aged care providers, the department told AAA it was currently “considering options for a streamlined regulatory pathway that will encourage new entrants to the market by recognising accreditations made by bodies other than the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency.”
Further information would be available as the amendments to the aged care related subordinate legislation, that would facilitate implementation of the STRC were finalised, the spokesperson said.
Elsewhere, the framework confirmed that to be eligible for an STRC place the care recipient could not be receiving home care or residential aged care, as it was now assumed that both had a reablement focus.
Responding to stakeholder feedback, the STRC’s reference to care recipients having suffered “a setback” was removed to more accurately reflect the often gradual nature of functional decline.
Entry to the STRC would be through My Aged Care with assessment to be undertaken by an Aged Care Assessment Team, the framework confirmed.
The summary of the sector consultations and the finalised policy framework are available to read here.
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