Just 39 per cent of aged care providers are ready to receive referrals through the My Aged Care gateway, more than three months after it launched, latest figures show.
During a panel session on My Aged Care at the Leading Age Services Australia National Congress last week, Fiona Buffinton of the Department of Social Services revealed that while 74 per cent of all providers had set-up their access to the system, only 39 per cent had completed the process to receive referrals. This had increased from 16 per cent of providers ready for referrals at 26 June.
Among larger providers the situation was slightly better, with 64 per cent ready to receive referrals through My Aged Care.
Ms Buffinton said that DSS had conducted a range of engagement initiatives such as a road show, webinars and videos, but the department was keen for feedback from providers around how successful this had been.
She said the numbers clearly showed that in June there was a problem, as the system was to go live from 1 July, but it had low numbers of system set-up among providers, and small numbers ready to receive referrals.
Following a renewed information campaign, there had been improved engagement by providers, “but clearly we’re not where we need to be yet,” Ms Buffinton said.
Responding to the numbers, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) said there were several steps that had to be completed before providers were fully activated in My Aged Care and could receive referrals, which appeared to be “a stumbling block” for some.
“LASA continues to encourage providers to ensure they have completed their registration properly and double check if they have not been receiving referrals,” a spokesperson said.
Elsewhere, Ms Buffinton said My Aged Care had underestimated the number of inbound referrals from hospitals and GPs, which “took us by surprise”.
The backlog of these inbound referrals rose from 5,600 in mid-July to 11,000 in August. Nonetheless My Aged Care had since managed to clear that backlog, she said.
Ms Buffinton also acknowledged the delays in passing referrals through to the Regional Assessment Services. “It was apparent we weren’t getting clients effectively through to assessment,” she said.
However, the DSS data showed the number of referrals to RAS for assessment had increased to processing 4,560 between 21 and 27 September, up from 585 between 1 to 5 July.
DSS has previously told AAA that from 1 July to 27 September approximately 40,000 referrals to My Aged Care Regional Assessment Services for home support assessment had been issued. Of this, just over 5,000 were issued in July, just over 19,000 were issued in August, and just under 16,000 were issued between 1– 27 September.
During questions from the floor, trainer and consultant Carrie Hayter asked the panel about the lack of a finder function for Aboriginal-specific aged services on My Aged Care.
James Wilson, engagement manager, Health Direct Australia, which developed the site on contract for DSS, agreed it was an important issue and said he would take it back to his team.
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