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Government trials lighter admin for providers

The federal government is cutting the red tape for a small group of aged-care providers, to see if it makes them better innovators.

The South Australian Innovation Hub was developed in consultation with a small group of providers to reduce government regulation and improve consumer engagement, innovation and quality care at the same time.

“By helping to lighten the unnecessary administrative burden on aged-care staff, [we can allow] providers to put a greater focus on the safety and wellbeing of care recipients,” minister for social services Kevin Andrews said. “Having a small group allows the trial to identify benefits, costs and risks more easily.”

The trial will look into more efficient assessment of accreditation standards and more appropriate financial reporting and Aged Care Funding Instrument reviews.

Also for the trial, the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency is developing a consumer engagement strategy in consultation with COTA Australia.

“The strategy supports providers within the hub [so they can] better engage with consumers in the design, delivery and evaluation of care,” Andrews said. “However, there needs to be a healthy balance between regulatory safeguards and support for innovative quality aged-care services. Part of the trial is to ensure the wellbeing of people receiving care is protected with these changes.”

Andrews stressed that the Charter of Residents Rights and Responsibilities would still apply to consumers.

“Ongoing monitoring through aged-care regulatory programs will ensure quality care is being delivered, and regulation processes will apply if a serious risk to care is identified,” he said.

The hub trial will be evaluated in late 2015. If successful, the scheme may be rolled out across Australia.

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