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Volunteers line up to test funding tool


More than 850 facilities with a total of 70,000 places have volunteered to trial an alternative residential aged care funding tool, the Department of Health reports.

The trial will field test the prototype Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) funding assessment tool developed by the University of Wollongong as part of the Resource Utilisation and Classification Study and plans to replace the current Aged Care Funding Instrument.

During the trial, one or several assessment management organisations will manage a workforce of independent external assessors including registered nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists to test the assessment tool with between 5,000 and 10,000 residents across Australia.

The department said it sought assessment management services to support it to complete around 5,600 assessments nationwide with volunteer facilities (read our backgrounder here).

The department’s tender process closed on 2 September and it expects to finalise its evaluation in October, according to advice released on Thursday.

“Once organisation/s are engaged, trial sites will be selected from amongst the more than 850 residential aged care facilities, or 70,000 places, who nominated to participate,” the department said.

The department said it was developing a sampling strategy to ensure the trial included representative coverage of regions and types of facilities.

Participating facilities receive collective classification

The trial builds on the lessons University of Wollongong identified in initial tests during RUCS and aims to test the Commonwealth’s capability to administer a national workforce of external assessors.

Participating approved providers will receive a profile of the collective AN-ACC classification scores for their facility but data will be de-identified.

Just like the approach used for the RUCS, the department, external assessor and approved provider will be unable to access identifiable classification scores.

Assessors will use iPads to conduct the assessments via a prototype AN-ACC Apple app.

The app will support the external assessor to carry out the assessment but will not calculate a score for the resident, the department said.

Trial runs for eight months

The department has set the following schedule for the trial:

  • October 2019: engage assessment management organisations and map out geographical sites for the trial
  • November 2019: commence training of external assessor workforce and assessments
  • April 2020: complete assessments
  • June 2020: complete trial.

Find out more about the trial here and access the department’s updated advice here.

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