Aged care organisations need to ensure the services they procure also meet the new quality standards, a provider’s head of procurement tells Australian Ageing Agenda.
The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission will commence assessing providers against the new single Aged Care Quality Standards from 1 July 2019.
Providers will need to work closely with their contractors and suppliers to ensure they meet the new standards, said Michael Nemere, senior contract advisor of West Australian residential aged, home care and retirement living provider Bethanie.
“The challenge for aged care service providers is to not only make sure that the services they provide directly are meeting the new standards but also that the supply chain or the suppliers they use also meet the new standards,” Mr Nemere told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“The most important thing is that you need to work more collaboratively with suppliers during the journey as it is a major change for the industry,” Mr Nemere said.
Mr Nemere is speaking at the 5th Annual Aged Care Procurement Conference this month about the implications of the new standards for procurement.
Bethanie commenced a procurement transformation project in 2016 and adopted a hybrid aged care delivery model.
The approach combines an in-house procurement team and is supported by suppliers as part of a boarder aged care market deregulation strategy, Mr Nemere said.
“Under the new standards, aged care providers will be more accountable for safety and quality and have an increased focus on client care. Providers will have to demonstrate their care and services are safe, effective and customer centred,” Mr Nemere said.
He said the aim of the hybrid model was to provide Bethanie with the right start to ensure the organisation met the new aged care standards.
“Operating a mature procurement policy and framework within the organisation ensures connectivity between the life cycle contracting process and the business,” Mr Nemere said.
Features of the hybrid model include having recommended supplier and product lists, commercially competitive deals under Bethanie terms, consistent application of Bethanie’s operating systems and a proactive supplier relationship and performance management.
He said it allowed Bethanie to be in control of their contracts and ensured that the services provided met the organisation’s standards.
“It provides you with more assurance and control around what you’re expecting from your contractors.
“Providers should source suppliers under their own terms or ensure that supplier terms meet the organisation’s minimum standards,” Mr Nemere said.
Tips to meet the new standards
Mr Nemere said providers need to prepare by first establishing how they are going to meet the new aged care standards.
“For outsourced scopes, the contract needs to prescribe how the standards are going to be met. This includes defining the operating standards, procedures, systems and competencies to be used,” he said.
He suggests providers overlay clinical governance to establish and maintain recommended product and supplier lists and ensure customers have choice and flexibility with products and services.
“Promoting an increased customer choice and flexibility is critical, however it should be supported by a risk-based investment prior to providing non-recommended products and services,” Mr Nemere said.
The Aged Care Procurement Conference will take place at the Royal Randwick Sydney on 20-21 March.
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