Submit your questions or comments, regarding Community Care Services.
Will there be opportunity for new service providers to be funded during the change from State to Commonwealth?
Answer: The intention is to recontract with all existing service providers. The commitment is no disruption for service users. Therefore on 1 July 2012 the same service providers should be providing the same services for the same clients.
Under the National Health Reforms the State will continue to contract for community care services for people under 65 years of age (under 50 years of age for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people). From 1 July 2012 the Commonwealth will contract for Home and Community Care services for people 65 years of age and over (50 years of age and over for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people).
This means that if you currently deliver services to clients in both age groups you may need to have two service agreements and you will continue to provide services to both age groups.
Letters of offer – will there be opportunity to negotiate around the service agreement – to change where we know outcomes and funding don’t match – where unit costs have risen and outcomes are decreasing with higher costs
Answer: As was the case when the current contracts were negotiated there are no additional funds so the only way to adjust the unit price is to decrease outputs which may impact on the level of services available for clients.
Contracts will be offered at existing unit prices. For Queensland's service agreement there will be some scope to negotiate unit prices in exceptional circumstances if the organisation can provide clear evidence to support any request for pricing adjustments. There will be further opportunity to undertake these negotiations in the future.
There will be no opportunity to negotiate unit costs with the Commonwealth at this stage; however, there will be opportunities in the future.
Could there be more block recurrent funding for disability? In Mackay there seems to be more individual packaged funding. Some people only require a small amount of assistance.
Answer: The Queensland government is building a better specialist disability service system which provides a fairer and more transparent way for Queenslanders with a disability to access support and specialist services. People will have an assessment of their needs and a funding solution will be focused on matching services to the person’s assessed needs. The way service providers are funded is changing too so that providers can concentrate more on delivering services rather than administering a funding grant. While the National Health reforms do mean some changes to the Home and Community Care program, community care services will still be available to frail older people and younger people with a disability. People with a disability who need specialist support are encouraged to contact their local Disability Services service centre – you can find the details on our website or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68)* (Telephone typewriter (TTY) 133 677). *Cost of a local call. Calls from mobile phones are charged at applicable rates.
Concern regarding the need to report for under 50 and over 50 if one is State and one is Commonwealth. It is too hard for small non government organisations who already struggle to report on time.
Answer: The State and Commonwealth are working together to streamline reporting requirements where possible to reduce the burden on service providers. Reporting through HACC MDS will be continued and only required once.
Fees – does the Commonwealth plan to implement fees.
Answer: The Commonwealth will not be changing the arrangements regarding fees immediately. Any changes will be discussed with the sector before being introduced.
We are funded for the Australian South Sea Islander people.
Where will they fit? Will they need to be over 65? They face the same issues as our Indigenous brothers and sisters and are closely interlinked through marriage, church, sport etc. People in our region now have the three backgrounds. This applies to all areas where there is sugar industry but Mackay in particular has the largest population of Australian South Sea Islander people in Australia.
If Australian South Sea Islander people could be included with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups in the over 50 special area can they be named separately? They are not Indigenous and should not be tacked on to the Indigenous name. That is also disrespectful to both groups. They need to be noted as a separate group – they are a separate ethnic group recognised by both Governments and are very closely linked to the Indigenous peoples in some areas (e.g. Mackay) and face very similar issues.
Answer: The reforms to aged care and disability services as outlined in the National Health Reform Agreement state that the changes to aged care and disability services including Home and Community Care program will be based on age. This will result in the Commonwealth taking responsibility for over 65s and states under 65s. This age split is 50 years for Indigenous Australians. All other population groups are expected to be covered under the overall age split.
As part of the implementation of the reforms discussions with the Commonwealth are continuing to clarify any issues or concerns in relation to the changes in the roles and responsibilities for aged care and disability services including issues in relation to funding split for the Home and Community Care Program.
Training – it has to be manageable for people. Non-government organisations cannot often afford to have staff away for long periods – even two days can be too long. It would be better to have short training sessions over a longer period. Also, it is often too much for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Australian South Sea Islander people to do a big lot of training at the one time and then go straight back into the workplace – given that many are older, with limited experience of training and study.
Answer: The Department acknowledges the challenges involved for non-government organisations in maintaining service delivery while staff attend training, and particularly for those non government organisations in remote locations as staff are required to travel to attend training.
Home and Community Care funded the Community Services Skilling Plan to deliver the Home and Community Care Vocational Education and Training Engagement Strategy. This involved putting skilled people in each region to work closely with service providers and staff to identify training needs, and to work with training providers to address these needs.
The aim was to help service providers and the community care workforce better understand what training was available and how to access it, and for the training providers to better understand what was needed, including the need for flexible delivery, and helping people use recognition of prior learning to “fast track” their training by building on existing life and work experience. The Community Services Skilling Plan has made the cultural capability training available in shorter training sessions in response to feedback.
The Department has also funded training initiatives which enable participants to gain accredited qualifications through very flexible, tailored approaches. The Indigenous Mentoring Program and the Community of Practice Programs for managers and coordinators of Home and Community Care services are just two examples.
Reporting: Does it need to be quarterly? Does it need to be so output-driven? We spend a lot of time "counting".
Answer: The State and Commonwealth are working together to align the timing of reports and minimise reporting requirements where possible. HACC funding is based on outputs. To ensure both equitable access to services across Queensland and to ensure accountability requirements for public funds it is important that the funding body knows what services are being provided where, who is receiving them and how much they cost.
Reporting: HACC MDS and other service agreement reporting
Answer: Service providers will continue to report using HACC MDS. In line with Commonwealth and Queensland Government commitments to reducing the reporting burden for service providers, other reporting requirements will be reviewed and streamlined where possible.
Is the $ value changing?
What is the opportunity to negotiate unit cost and outputs?
Full funding of program is needed as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects are not able to find other income
Answer: The quantum of funds will remain the same. As detailed above there are no additional funds so the only way to adjust the unit cost is to decrease outputs which may impact on the level of services available for clients.
You will receive a letter of intent which details the split of funding/units as indicated from analysis of the current data. For many organisations this will be an accurate reflection of their service and costs however if there are issues there will be a mechanism such as a face to face meeting or telephone for further discussion.
Prior to the negotiation process it is important for service providers to continue delivering services as they currently do and to know what they deliver, who they deliver to and how much it costs.
- Service Delivery: the commitment is no change to 2015. What growth is there regarding disability and community care as demand is increasing?
Answer: Growth funds are available to enhance services to younger and older people in 2011-12. An annual plan to allocate these funds is under development.