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.

DSS data on provider sign-up to My Aged Care
DSS data on provider sign-up to My Aged Care

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.

AAA_tables_01
My Aged Care has cleared the backlog of inbound calls, DSS figures show.

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.

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DSS figures show My Aged Care referrals for assessment

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.

Aboriginal-specific finder

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.

Want to have your say on this story? Comment below. Send us your news and tip-offs to editorial@australianageingagenda.com.au 

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10 Comments

  1. Is part of the uptake issue related to the lack of system to system integration. Providers need to re-enter the data into their own client management systems. Reducing this workload would really improve take up I believe.

  2. The question that Carrie Hayter asked regarding Aboriginal Specific Finder was asked and discussed at last Novembers forum at the DHS in Canberra, and more specifically by providers who were at that forum and provide care and services to ATSI clients.
    It is disappointing to hear that the discussions back then 11 months ago still have not been considered within the development.
    Looking forward to reading about the development which James Wilson “agreed is an important issue”.

  3. A commitment was given to include private providers onto ” My Aged Care” -some 3 months on – and they unable to give a time frame as to when this work will be completed – Choice and transparency requires clients to be provided with all of their options

  4. I have been told by many clients that they have waited over an hour on the phone to MAC and give up. One client even waited 2 and a half hours!

  5. the data provided on wait times does not match reality. Wait times of over an hour are common yet the data suggests that the maximum wait time experience is 39 minutes. If you can’t collect accurate data on something so simple then one must question the validity and quality of the rest. The quality of the consumer experience of My Aged Care should be paramount. and I continually hear about frustration and tears. How dare such a system treat people so badly. Shame on those who put this together and hope that you get to experience it first hand. Why not do an undercover experiment. It takes great courage to admit mistakes.
    Offload complete and within timeframes and budget, tick!

  6. Very disturbing given that our core business is the frail aged who deserve better. Seems once again “the team” are not in touch with the reality of the work at the coal face and the impact there.

  7. I would like to know what is actually being asked by phone assessment, information provided to service provider is very scant, although has got better over time. Clients are finding contact with the site very confusing and frustrating and give up and go to services they know. Having to download documents and then enter data manually into own client data software is very time consuming and service providers were notified earlier this would not change in the near future.
    The administration of this referral source has added 2 hours per day on top of existing workload with no recognition or assistance to cover the cost of same.

  8. Shame,shame, shame! How can a call centre assess for services and ignore recommendations from professionals who have extensive aged care experience. Referrals for services are ignored as call centre agents seem to be able to assess for services clients don’t want or need. If the elderly don’t answer there phone after three calls the referral is cancelled. No feedback to case managers advising of this. It’s confusing for people, not to mention the amount of time spent ringing MAC making sure referrals are pasted onto service providers. Save us all now and rid us of this terrible service!!!

  9. Something needs to be done about this asap.
    My Aged Care Call centre staff need to have Health professionals eg. nurses, or staff that have a healthcare background that are familiar with the health care and community services that are available in all regions working in these call centres to properly assess our elderly Australians and refer appropriately.

    The government needs to make this a priority as our elderly and families are suffering. People are becoming frustrated, confused, untreated when urgent and in some cases ending up in worst case scenarios because of the new ‘system’.
    The system needs to reviewed and changed asap. The Time is ticking..

  10. As a referrer I usually provide considerable detail about my clients to be of assistance to MAC and ultimately RAS/ ACAT. It’s disappointing in the extreme to discover that either the third page of the referral (where the assessment detail is contained) is not passed on to RAS/ACAT at all or scant information is given. A waste of my time and a disservice to clients.

    Of further concern is that In never hear anything back from MAC, RAS or ACAT regarding what has occurred as a result of my referral. Mostly I hear it, by chnace, from my clients. Highly unprofessional.

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