New Aged Care COVID-19 Vaccination Reporting Requirements


This article applies to ‘approved providers’ of Commonwealth funded aged care services.

Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Vaccination) Principles 2021 (Cth)

On 6 September 2021, relevant parts of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Vaccination Information) Principles 2021 (Cth) (the Amending Principles) amended the Accountability Principles 2014 (Cth) (the Accountability Principles) and the Records Principles 2014 (Cth) (the Records Principles).

COVID-19 vaccinations of service staff in residential care services, certain flexible care services and home care services

In June and July 2021, new requirements were imposed on certain aged care approved providers to report to the Commonwealth on the number of service staff who voluntarily informed the approved provider that they have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccination (and all required doses). The reporting of this information is undertaken via the My Aged Care online portal. Organisations who are approved providers of a flexible care service through which transition care is provided (whether in a residential or community setting), should note that the requirement to report such information also now applies to your organisation.

In addition to this change, the Accountability Principles have also been amended to now require approved providers to report to the Commonwealth in relation to the number of service staff who have informed the approved provider that they have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccination (or all required doses), because they are obliged to provide that information to the approved provider under a State or Territory law. Moreover, approved providers are now also required to report to the Commonwealth on the number of service staff who have notified the approved provider that they are subject to an exemption or exception from the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccination under a State or Territory law.

More specifically, section 30C of the Accountability Principles now provides that approved providers of residential care services or flexible care services through which short‑term restorative care is provided or through which transition care is provided and home care services must on each reporting day (being 7 September 2021 and each subsequent Tuesday), give the Secretary of the Department of Health (Secretary) a report, that sets out the following information:

  • the total number of service staff in relation to the service;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have not received a single dose, or all required doses, of a COVID-19 vaccine because an exemption from the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory applies to them; or the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory does not apply to them;
  • (for those service staff covered by the point above), the nature of the exemption from the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory; or the reason why the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory does not apply to them.

It is important to note however that an approved provider is not required to update reported numbers to the Secretary if they have not changed since a previously submitted report.

In addition, section 10B of the Records Principles requires approved providers of residential care services or flexible care services through which short‑term restorative care is provided or through which transition care is provided and home care services to keep records of the above listed information.

COVID-19 vaccinations of service staff in multi-purpose services

Organisations that are approved providers of a multi-purpose service should be aware that under section 30C(2) of the Accountability Principles, they are now required to on each reporting day (being 7 September 2021 and each subsequent Tuesday), to give the Secretary a report, that sets out the following information:

  • the total number of those service staff in relation to the service who access, or are reasonably likely to access, any premises where residential care is provided through the service;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have received a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have received all required doses of a COVID-19 vaccine;
  • the number of those service staff who have informed the approved provider, whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory, that they have not received a single dose, or all required doses, of a COVID-19 vaccine because an exemption from the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory applies to them; or the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory does not apply to them;
  • (for those service staff covered by the point above), the nature of the exemption from the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory, or the reason why the requirement to receive a COVID-19 vaccine under a law of a State or Territory does not apply to them.

It is important to note however that an approved provider is not required to update reported numbers to the Secretary if they have not changed since a previously submitted report.

In addition, section 10B of the Records Principles requires approved providers of a multi-purpose service to keep records of the above listed information.

Approved providers of flexible care services through which transition care is provided

Organisations that are approved providers of a flexible care service through which transition care is provided (whether in a residential or community setting), should be aware that they are now required under section 10A of the Records Principles to keep records of the number of service staff who have informed the organisation, (whether voluntarily or as required under a law of a State or Territory), that they have received the annual seasonal influenza vaccination for that year.

In addition, section 10C of the Records Principles now requires approved providers of a flexible care service through which transition care is provided (whether in a residential or community setting) to keep records of the following information:

  • the number of care recipients to whom residential care is provided through the service who have voluntarily informed the organisation that they have received a single dose of a COVID‑19 vaccine;
  • the number of care recipients to whom residential care is provided though the service who have voluntarily informed the organisation that they have received all required doses of a COVID‑19 vaccine.

Conclusion

Organisations that are approved providers of residential care services or flexible care services through which short‑term restorative care is provided or through which transition care is provided, home care services, or approved providers of multi-purpose services should comply with the revised reporting requirements discussed above.

To support approved providers to meet the reporting obligations discussed above, we note that the Department of Health has published a ‘Quick Reference Guide’ which gives step-by-step instructions on how to add, view and update COVID-19 Vaccination data for Service Staff and Residents in the Service Provider portal. The Guide can be downloaded here.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au