This article applies to organisations that are ‘approved providers’ of Commonwealth funded aged care services.
Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Registered Nurses) Principles 2023 (Cth)
On 1 July 2023, the remaining provisions of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Registered Nurses) Principles 2023 (Cth) (the Amending Principles) will commence and will amend the Accountability Principles 2014 (Cth) (the Principles).
Background to the new changes
Organisations will already be aware that from 1 July 2023, section 54-1A of the Aged Care Act 1997 (Cth) (the Act) requires approved providers of residential care or flexible care provided to care recipients in a residential facility, to have at least one registered nurse (within the meaning of the Health Insurance Act 1973 (Cth)), on site and on duty, 24 hours, 7 days a week (the 24/7 RN responsibility).
Approved providers will be aware that the Quality of Care Principles 2014 (Cth) has made provision for an exemption to this rule to be granted by the Department of Health and Aged Care (Department) to certain approved providers in relation to a residential facility. For example, the Department has noted on their website that residential aged care facilities with 30 or fewer operational beds in Modified Monash Model (MMM) 5–7 locations with appropriate alternative clinical care arrangements in place, may be eligible for an exemption from the 24/7 RN responsibility for up to 12 months from 1 July 2023.
New requirement to report about 24/7 RN responsibility
On 1 July 2023, the Amending Principles will introduce another new obligation to the Principles, for approved providers who provide residential care through a residential care service to care recipients in residential facilities, to provide the Department with reports about the 24/7 RN responsibility, (as set out in section 54-1A of the Act). Importantly, these approved providers must provide a 24/7 RN report even where they have been granted an exemption from the 24/7 RN responsibility in relation to a residential facility.
The 24/7 RN report must be given to the Department within 7 days after the end of each calendar month, (or within a longer period as specified by the Department by notice in writing given to the approved provider).
Additionally, the 24/7 RN report must be in a form approved in writing by the Department. We note that the Department has advised on their website that “providers must use the Government Provider Management System (GPMS) to report about their RN coverage for the 24/7 responsibility”. More information about the method of reporting can be found on the Department’s website here.
Approved providers who provide residential care to care recipients in residential facilities should implement a new process to ensure that they provide the Department of Health and Ageing with a 24/7 RN report within the required timeframe, as discussed above.