Preparedness for governance reforms patchy

When it comes to meeting the new aged care governance responsibilities some home care providers are more prepared than others.

When it comes to meeting the new aged care governance responsibilities coming into play towards the end of the year, some home care providers are more prepared than others, according to an industry insider.

“We are seeing varying degrees of preparedness along that road,” Lorraine Poulos – managing director of aged care consultants LPA – told Community Care Review. “We’re seeing some organisations with a level of maturity, but in others, they’re leaving it to the last minute.”

From 1 December, aged care providers must ensure their governing bodies consist of independent non-executive members who have a mix of skills and qualifications – including at least one member who has clinical experience.

Also from that date, providers must have established a quality care advisory body and a consumer advisory body. As well, providers will be required to annually assess the suitability of key personnel and annually submit operations reports to the Department of Health and Aged Care.

“In order to meet those regulatory requirements around the composition of your governing body and then to implement the quality advisory body and the consumer advisory body takes some planning and some foresight,” said Ms Poulos.  

Describing the new governance measures as “very significant”, Ms Poulos said: “They will fundamentally change the way providers interact with consumers, how they manage their governing bodies.”

Ms Poulos spoke to CCR following an industry event hosted by LPA, law firm Maddocks and sector benchmarking specialists StewartBrown in Sydney this week that sought to shed light on the governance requirements set to hit the sector.

Ms Poulos said the changes may prove especially challenging for smaller home care operators who may not have the resources to implement some of the measures.

“They may find that a little bit difficult. We know that some smaller, private operators are now discovering that it could be quite onerous for them. For instance, they might not have had to share their financials or some of their day-to-day operating challenges with an external advisory body before.”

A number of topics were discussed at the industry event such as whether the home care reforms – which have been postponed twice before and now scheduled for 1 July 2025 – would be further delayed.

Grant Corderoy

Grant Corderoy – senior partner at StewartBrown – thought that unlikely. “The timeline has already been extended several times, and much work is underway by government to ensure the implementation dates are met,” he said.

But the main focus of the event – attended by more than 60 home care providers – was the upcoming governance requirements. While it meant more upheaval for the home care sector, Ms Poulos told CCR that, ultimately, the move was a positive one.

“The goal is to safeguard the needs of those who are more vulnerable,” she said. “And to be open and transparent with stakeholders such as government and the consumers about how funds are being spent to improve the health and safety of older Australians.”

Main image: Lorraine Poulos speaking at an industry event in Sydney

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Tags: governance, home care, lorraine poulos, LPA,

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