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Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2019

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2019

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2019

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

and

STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

The Member for Mayo, Rebekha Sharkie MP



Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2019

 

 

OUTLINE

 

The Bill requires the quarterly publication of ratios of aged care recipients to staff members for each residential care service operated by approved providers, with the aim of creating greater public transparency in the provision of residential care services and informing members of the public in any choice they may make regarding residential care services.

 

The Bill achieves this outcome by requiring residential care service providers to notify the Secretary of the ratios under separate categories of staff member, and that non-full-time staff members be counted as an appropriate fraction of a full-time equivalent.

 

The Secretary is required to make this information publicly available.

 

Residential aged care services will then be placed into four categories depending on their average Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) quartile.

 

The ACFI is an instrument used by the Department to determine the level of resources required by each residential care service provider to meet the care needs of the aged care recipients. It focuses on the main areas that discriminate care needs among residents. When completed on all residents in the facility the ACFI identifies the overall relative care needs profile and the subsequent funding.

 

Categorising residential aged care providers into ACFI quartiles will better enable consumers and their families to compare facilities with similar levels of resident acuity. This provision is also consistent with the recommendations from the Final Report of the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport following an Inquiry into the earlier version of this Bill, Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018.

 

The provider has the option of providing an accompanying explanation of no more than 250 words which must also be published by the Secretary if it is provided.

 

The residential care service provider must further notify the Secretary within 28 days if, between quarterly notifications, any ratio of aged care recipients to staff member (by category) changes by more than 10%.

 

Personal information, other than the name of the approved provider of the service and the names of directors, or members of the committee of management, of the approved provider, must not be disclosed.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

The bill will have no financial impact.

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1: Short Title

Clause 1 provides for the Bill, once enacted, to be cited as the Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Act 2019 .

 

Clause 2: Commencement

Clause 2 provides for the Bill to commence from the day the Act receives the Royal Assent.

 

Clause 3: Schedules

Clause 3 provides that legislation specified in a Schedule is amended or repealed as set out in that Schedule.

Schedule 1 - Amendments

 

Item 1

 

Item 1 inserts a new Section 9-3C Obligation to notify Secretary of staff to care recipient ratios.

 

Subsection 9-3C(1) requires an approved aged care provider to notify the Secretary of the ratio of care recipients to staff members, in regard to each residential care service they operate.

 

Subsection 9-3C(2) requires that this ratio be broken down into ratios for each category of staff member as described in subsection 9-3C(5).

 

Subsection 9-3C(3) requires that non-full-time staff members be counted as an appropriate fraction of a full-time equivalent.

 

Subsection 9-3C(4) specifies that the days each year for notification are 1 January, 1 April, 1 July and 1 October unless otherwise specified in regulations.

 

Subsection 9-3C(5) specifies the categories of staff members for which separate ratio of care recipients to staff members must be provided, namely:

 

·          registered nurses level 1 through 5 (respectively);

·          enrolled nurses;

·          nurses with a certificate IV or an equivalent qualification;

·          personal care attendants;

·          allied health staff; and

·          other staff members.

 

Subsection 9-3C(6) requires that a notification under subsection 9-3C(1) be made as soon as practicable after the day to which the notification relates.

 

Subsection 9-3C(7) requires the notification to be in a form approved by the Secretary.

 

Subsection 9-3C(8) allows the notification to include an explanation by the approved provider in relation to any ratio notified. That explanation must not exceed 250 words.

 

Subsection 9-3C(9) requires that if there is a change of more than 10% in a notified ratio, the approved provider must provide notification of that change to the Secretary within 28 days.

 

Subsection 9-3C(10) requires the Secretary to review the introduction of Item 1 within 12 months of the commencement of this Act.

 

Subsection 9-3C(11) requires the Secretary to consider certain matters when conducting a review of the amendments. Specifically, the potential to include reporting data for both day time and night time shifts, weekend shifts and whether the reporting scheme is a burden for smaller approved providers.

 

Subsection 9-3C(12) requires the Secretary to provide the report to the Minister.

 

Subsection 9-3C(13) requires the Minister to table a copy of the report in both Houses of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of the report being provided to the Minister.

 

Subsection 9-3C(14) clarifies that staff member has the same meaning as in section 63-1AA.

 

 

Item 2

 

Item 2 inserts a new subsection 86-9(1A) which requires the Secretary to make publicly available the information about staff to care recipient ratios that they have been notified about under section 9-3C, including the average ACFI funding claim and whether this is categorised as low, medium or high.

 

Item 3

 

Item 3 amends subsection 86-9(2) such that information disclosed under new subsection 86-9(1A) must not include personal information about a person, except the name of the approved provider of the service and the names of directors or members of the committee of management of the approved provider (as per subsection 86-9(1)(g)).

 

 

 

 

 



STATEMENT OF COMPATIBILITY WITH HUMAN RIGHTS

 

 

Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2019

 

This bill is compatible with the human rights and freedoms recognised or declared in the international instruments listed in section 3 of the Human Rights (Parliamentary Scrutiny) Act 2011 .

 

Overview of the bill

 

The Bill requires the quarterly publication of ratios of aged care recipients to staff members for each residential care service operated by approved providers, with the aim of creating greater public transparency in the provision of residential care services and informing members of the public in any choice they may make regarding residential care services.

 

The Bill achieves this outcome by requiring residential care service providers to notify the Secretary of the ratios under separate categories of staff member, and that non-full-time staff members be counted as an appropriate fraction of a full-time equivalent.

 

The Secretary is required to make this information publicly available.

 

Residential aged care services will then be placed into four categories depending on their average Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) quartile.

 

The ACFI is an instrument used by the Department to determine the level of resources required by each residential care service provider to meet the care needs of the aged care recipients. It focuses on the main areas that discriminate care needs among residents. When completed on all residents in the facility the ACFI identifies the overall relative care needs profile and the subsequent funding.

 

Categorising residential aged care providers into ACFI quartiles will better enable consumers and their families to compare facilities with similar levels of resident acuity. This provision is also consistent with the recommendations from the Final Report of the House Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport following an Inquiry into the earlier version of this Bill, Aged Care Amendment (Staffing Ratio Disclosure) Bill 2018.

 

The provider has the option of providing an accompanying explanation of no more than 250 words which must also be published by the Secretary if it is provided.

 

The residential care service provider must further notify the Secretary within 28 days if, between quarterly notifications, any ratio of aged care recipients to staff member (by category) changes by more than 10%.

 

Personal information, other than the name of the approved provider of the service and the names of directors, or members of the committee of management, of the approved provider, must not be disclosed.

 

 

 

 

Human rights implications

 

This bill does not engage any of the applicable rights or freedoms.

 

Conclusion

 

This bill is compatible with human rights as it does not engage any human rights issues.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ms Rebekha Sharkie MP