Unannounced re-accreditation visits, reports and responses

28 March 2018

What has changed?

Following the release of the independent review of the National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes on 25 October 2017, the Minister announced that the Government would be replacing the announced re-accreditation audits with unannounced audits.

Who do the changes apply to?

The changes apply to residential aged care services applying for re-accreditation from 1 July 2018 and those with an accreditation expiry date on or after 1 July 2019.

The changes will not apply to providers who have already been advised of their reaccreditation site audit or facilities with an accreditation expiry date before 1 January 2019.

What are the changes

a) Unannounced re-accreditation audits / Applications for re-accreditation

Before end of accreditation period, providers will be issued with a notice that:

        • states the date the current period of accreditation will end;
        • states the date the provider must apply for re‑accreditation;
        • specifies the form of words to be used to inform care recipients and their representatives that a site audit may be conducted in relation to the application

b) Late Applications for re‑accreditation

Where an application is filed late, regardless of whether the accreditation will expire in the interim period there is no obligation on the Agency to:

        • conduct the site audit prior to the accreditation expiry date;
        • compile and submit the site Audit Report any sooner than the prescribed 7 day period following the site audit; or
        • make a decision earlier than the prescribed 28 day period.

If your facility is not accredited you will not be eligible to receive subsidies.

c) Notifying residents and their representatives

Providers must notify residents and their representatives prior to the audit and on the day of the audit, including via posters, mail outs, SMS/text messages, in emails or in person.

Providers must enable care recipients and their representatives who have expressed a wish to meet with the assessment team to do so

d) Exit Meeting

On the last day of the site audit, an exit meeting will be held between the provider and the assessment team.

e) Audit Assessment Reports

The Assessment Team will provide a copy of the Audit Report detailing its findings to the provider within 7 days of the audit.

The audit report contains the assessment team’s findings about the home’s performance against the quality Framework. Supporting information is not included in this report.

f) Responding to audit reports

Providers are invited to submit a response within 14 days from having received the Audit Report or within the time specified within the Audit Report

g) Accreditation Decision

The Quality Agency must make a decision within 28 days of receiving the Site Audit Report.  The Quality Agency when making a decision regarding re-accreditation may consider all relevant information about the service, including:

        • all information contained in an Audit Report, even where all outcomes have been met;
        • information received from the provider in response to the Audit Report;
        • information from the Department of Health;
        • the services’ history of performance against the Accreditation Standards; andwhether the service undertakes continuous improvement activities measured against the Accreditation Standards.

Responding to Audit Reports

Providers may choose not to submit a response to the Audit Report, however the Audit Report and any response submitted will be considered by the Quality Agency when making a decision regarding re-accreditation.

A response to an Audit Report is the best way to demonstrate how your service is meeting the Accreditation Standards, including:

        • refuting any information contained in the Audit Report which is inaccurate or incomplete;
        • responding to and addressing each issue raised in the report;
        • highlighting any innovations or changes to the way care and services are delivered which may have arisen out of complaints processes;
        • demonstrating how changes have been implemented, are being monitored and how this has enhanced outcomes being achieved;
        • submitting supporting information in the form of documentation including systems, policies, procedures, or improvement plans; and
        • responding to any suggestions made within the Audit Report.

How can we help you?

It is important to ensure you respond in a way that demonstrates how your service complies with the Aged Care Act 1997 and the Principles.  Gadens can assist providers to prepare comprehensive responses to Audit Reports.

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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