AHPA Insider: August 2023

Aged Care

Aged care regulation and funding

AHPA continues to actively engage with a raft of aged care systemic reforms, including advocating for aged care regulation that meaningfully addresses the present woeful amount of allied health provided in residential aged care.

We also strongly contend that consideration of how aged care should best be funded must encompass the need to fund allied health at a level that enables the clinically assessed needs of older people to be met, to a reablement standard.

Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care

Legislation to formally establish the Office of the Inspector-General of Aged Care has now been passed. AHPA strongly supported the Bill but also proposed to Senators a number of amendments to improve systemic accountability.

One of our key proposed changes was to a clause requiring the Inspector-General to conduct two reviews of Commonwealth implementation of the Aged Care Royal Commission recommendations. The original Bill required these reviews to consider the measures and actions taken by the Commonwealth in response to each recommendation, and the effectiveness of those measures and actions in implementing the recommendation. However, the first review was not due to be completed until 2026 and the second in 2031, which AHPA believed was too long to wait.

Our advocacy contributed to an amendment that now requires the Inspector-General, before conducting each review, to publish a report on the progress made by the Commonwealth towards implementing those recommendations.

These reports are due to the Minister and to be published on the Inspector-General’s website by 1 June 2024 and 1 June 2025 respectively. Although at that stage not legally required to do so, the Inspector-General has already begun work on the first report, to which AHPA contributed.


Meeting with NDIS Review

AHPA and our Disability Working Group met with the NDIS Review to discuss a range of topics arising from the Review’s What We Have Heard report and Pricing and Payments Approaches paper. We conveyed our frustration that allied health providers continue to be scapegoated for ‘price gouging’ when the reality is that NDIS therapy support prices have not even been indexed for four years. For more detail on allied health pricing issues see our written submission to the Review .

We also emphasised that although allied health providers are trained professionals, the same issues keep coming up with NDIS decision makers refusing to trust our clinical judgment and so disputing the amounts and types of therapy supports requested by participants for their plans. We made the point that we have raised these themes on numerous occasions with both the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS, but with little resulting improvement.

Digital Health

 National Allied Health Conference  2023

AHPA were pleased to chair the Digital Health & Technology session during the National Allied Health Conference held in Perth recently. The session demonstrated the breadth of work occurring, from strategy to enable real time data sharing, to detailed examples of how digital solutions are being leveraged to improve care accessibility and outcomes. The session highlighted the potential of digital solutions to address:

    • The daily challenges faced at the point of delivering allied health services;
    • The emerging nature of allied health digital champions and experts with practical experience and,
    • The need to facilitate sector wide solutions to reduce duplication, including connecting the acute and primary care sectors.

Stakeholder engagement

This month AHPA will complete and share with relevant stakeholders work related to:

  • Healthcare Provider Identifier – Individual number (HPI-I): All AHPA member associations will be aware of their ability to facilitate their allied health professional members to access a HPI-I. AHPA are pleased to share member associations have very little work to do to ensure member access to HPI-I’s. This will complete phase 1 of the work AHPA are embarking upon with Services Australia to streamline the HPI-I process and ensure digital health initiatives such as My Health Record can be securely integrated with the allied health sector. Phase 2 work will consider reducing the administrative burden of applying and maintaining a HPI-I as well as highlighting the required legislative changes to ensure access to HPI-Is for all allied health professionals.
  • The Aged care data and digital strategy: Collective contribution via Nous group as facilitated by the Department of Health.
  • Documentation and information workflow summaries: AHPA has worked closely with member associations and nominated expert professionals to understand the acquisition and sharing of client information by allied health professionals to inform their practice. Summaries of which information is shared and when and how information is acquired and shared during a client journey will be provided to the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA). This work forms part of AHPA’s ongoing collaboration with ADHA to inform their work related to integrating the allied health sector into My Health Record and other Government facilitated digital health initiatives.
  • Scoping review of sector wide work being undertaken relevant to value based health care: AHPA are continually working with Government and other relevant stakeholders to ensure digital health initiatives undertaken can enable data to inform evaluations of allied health services. The scoping review will also inform AHPAs board as they develop the next strategic plan for the organisation on behalf of the sector.