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National Aged Care Reforms Pass Parliament

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This article applies to approved providers of aged care.

Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 (Cth)

Please be advised that the Aged Care Amendment (Implementing Care Reform) Bill 2022 (Cth) (the Bill) passed Federal Parliament on 27 October 2022. The Bill amends the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (the Act) in response to the findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, introducing new requirements for approved providers to have nurses on site at all times, to cap home care charges, and to set out transparency of information provisions.

The Bill is designed to enable meaningful, practical improvements to the delivery of aged care services and to provide greater oversight and understanding of what funds are being used for – in an effort to put the quality of care and safety of older Australians first.

Registered Nurses

Commencing on 1 April 2023, Schedule 1 of the Bill introduces a new requirement for approved providers of residential care and certain kinds of flexible care (as specified in the Quality of Care Principles 2014 (Cth)) to ensure that at least one registered nurse is on site and on duty at all times (i.e. 24 hours each day, 7 days each week) at each residential facility operated by the provider.

The new requirement complements existing responsibilities under aged care legislation, including maintaining an adequate number of appropriately skilled staff to ensure the care needs of care recipients are met, and to provide such care and services as are specified in the Quality of Care Principles.

Capping Home Care Charges

Commencing on 1 January 2023, Schedule 2 of the Bill introduces a new power under the Act enabling the Government to cap charges that approved providers of home care may charge care recipients, while also removing home care providers’ ability to charge exit amounts. These amendment under Schedule 2 of the Bill are expected to increase consumer transparency and ensure more funds are available to meet the direct needs of care recipients.

Transparency of Information

Finally, commencing on 1 December 2022, subscribers should note that Schedule 3 of the Bill introduces a mandatory requirement under the Act for the Secretary of the Department of Health and Aged Care to publish information in relation to aged care services, including information about approved providers of those aged care services, in accordance with the Information Principles 2014 (Cth).

Schedule 3 of the Bill is designed so that this information will be published in a format that is clear and able to be understood by the public. This is expected to increase transparency and accountability of the aged care sector and empower older Australians and their families to make more informed care decisions based on the information.

Please click here to access the full Bill.

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