Complaints just got easier

The Office of the Aged Care Commissioner has just launched a new website to improve the flow of information, and recruited two new investigators to help speed up complaints against the Department and the Agency.

A new website has been launched to help aged care providers, care recipients and their families understand the role of the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner.

As well as providing general information about the commissioner and the Complaints Investigation Scheme, the website offers tips and facts on submitting complaints and appeals.

The Aged Care Commissioner is an independent statutory position that is independent from the Department and the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency.

The Commissioner has the power to review certain decisions made by the Scheme as well as complaints about the processes and conduct of the Scheme and the Agency.

Under the Aged Care Act, the Commissioner can also examine some examine particular matters on their own initiative

The Aged Care Commissioner, Rhonda Parker, said the website is a key component of the office’s effort to provide accurate and important information to the industry and consumers.

“If we are going to talk about being open and accountable and providing a high level of accessibility, then the website is an important part of that process,” said Ms Parker.

“It’s not yet 12 months since the Complaints Investigation Scheme came into being and when I speak to people there is still a level of confusion about the role of the Scheme, which is part of the Department of Health and Ageing, and the role of my office.”

The website has been operating for three weeks and Ms Parker said there has already been some positive feedback.

“It was a challenge for us putting the text together on the site in a way that was easy to understand but still true to the legislation,” she said.

“If you paraphrase it too much, there’s a danger that it will lose some of its accuracy so we have been pleased to receive the good feedback.”

The Office of the Aged Care Commissioner will be writing to all aged care facilities across the country to let them know about the website in the near future.

The Commissioner was also able to confirm that the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner has recently completed the recruitment process for two new investigators.

At last month’s Tri-State Conference in Albury, Ms Parker apologised for the Office’s “unacceptably slow” response to complaints against the Department and the Agency due to staff shortages.

There is a 60 day limit for dealing with appeals against the decisions of the Scheme but at the moment, no time frame exists for more general complaints.

Ms Parker told Australian Ageing Agenda she expected the new investigators would help speed up this process.

For more information about the Office of the Aged Care Commissioner, visit the website or call 1800 500 294.

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