AHPA Insider: 28 March 2023

Aged Care

On 10 March, AHPA released our aged care brief  What is needed for quality allied health in Australian aged care?.

The brief outlines the outcomes necessary to implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, that safe and high-quality aged care should include delivery of allied health services appropriate to each person’s needs.

Consistent with the Royal Commission’s findings, allied health should not be treated as an optional or luxury item but instead as a key pillar of the aged care system. The brief covers the following and provides background context for each outcome sought:

  • Allied health benchmarking and associated funding
  • A national care assessment and planning tool
  • Multidisciplinary care
  • Regulation of allied health quality and safety
  • Data
  • Workforce planning and support
  • Digital integration

You can read our full press release regarding the brief, here.

AHPA also attended a productive roundtable with the Interim Inspector General of Aged Care, Ian Yates AM. The meeting outlined the roles and functions of the Office, which will cast an independent eye over the whole aged care system.

AHPA keenly supports establishing this new entity to enhance accountability and transparency, and we think there is great potential to address key allied health issues via the systemic review function. However, there are areas where the Inspector-General’s powers and capability could be strengthened, and so we have made recommendations to the Senate Committee examining the Bill that establishes the Office. AHPA has also been in discussion with various MPs and Senators to seek support for our proposed amendments to the Bill.

AHPA has been very actively involved in drafting a National Aged Care Alliance discussion paper on possible funding mechanisms for the aged care system, as requested of the Alliance by the Minister for Aged Care, Anika Wells.

AHPA and members of the Aged Care Working Group met with the Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority (IHACPA) to discuss the current residential aged care costing study. We are concerned that the study only counts the allied health currently provided, not what should actually be provided if residents’ needs are genuinely assessed and met. It seems we have a long way to go on this issue, but we will continue to engage with IHACPA.

NDIS

NDIS pricing review

AHPA and the Disability Working Group submitted a response to this year’s NDIS pricing review consultation. The full submission is available here.

We raised several urgent pricing and cost concerns in last year’s review, but they were not supported by the NDIA. The most glaring issue for allied health is the lack of therapy support price indexation for the last four years. AHPA is collaborating with a group of leading NDIS providers to advocate as effectively as possible in the currently constrained fiscal climate.

Bill Shorten’s NDIS Plan

AHPA supports Minister Bill Shorten’s six-point plan to make significant changes to the NDIS. The plan highlights several points of improvement to the existing system, and we look forward to this reform being backed by action.

AHPA supports the need to address spending, and ‘maximising participant outcomes.’

Allied health workers are crucial to the NDIS. They are university trained professionals working in evidence-based ethical practice to improve the health and wellbeing of every consumer.

However, access to allied health services is critical to positive health outcomes, and addressing allied health workforce shortages is key to creating a sustainable system.

Workforce

2023 allied health workforce survey
AHPA is surveying their membership in the first half of this year to obtain improved detail about the distribution of allied health practitioners across Australia.

We aim to use this data to contribute to the national discussion concerning primary care and the role of allied health in its delivery.

Digital Health

Allied Health Digital Health Reference Group

We are pleased to confirm and share the participants of the Allied Health Digital Health Reference Group. This reference group will shape the future strategy for integrating allied health generated clinical information into My Health Record.

The group began their work together during March and the strategy is due for completion in early June. Learn more about this project here.

My Health Record

AHPA are mapping work occurring nationally which contributes to allied health generated clinical information being included within My Health Record. We will utilise this mapping to limit task duplication, expand stakeholder networks and assist task completion where appropriate. AHPA then look forward to progressing any gap tasks identified with the Australian Digital Health Agency in the near future Please contact us if you are undertaking work related to incorporating allied