Future of Aged Care Gateway still unclear
The future of the former government's five-year Aged Care Gateway is still unclear following the transfer of responsibility for aged care from the Department of Health to the new Department of Social Services (DSS), although plans to select an external delivery partner are continuing.
Responsibility for the Aged Care Gateway now rests with DSS.
The development of the gateway was a recommendation of the Productivity Commission's 2011 report Caring for Older Australians, and was a feature of the previous government's 2012 Living Longer Living Better aged care reform package.
A My Aged Care website and national call centre were launched on July 1 as the first phase in the five-year rollout, with a tender for a delivery prime contractor (DPC) closing on August 9.
Under the former government's plan, the DPC was to be responsible for the majority of ICT considerations in the plan, which included a central client record – due to be launched in 2014 – and which will link to the PCEHR.
In a statement to Pulse+IT, the DSS spokesperson said: "The process of engaging a delivery prime contractor is continuing. The Department of Social Services will advise the sector on the outcome of the process in due course."
At an ICT vendors' forum held in late August, Craig Harris of the access and reform branch of the then Department of Health and Ageing said the national call centre, operated by healthdirect Australia, had received around 20,000 calls since its launch and the My Aged Care website had received 112,000 visits, which Mr Harris said was expected to expand considerably.
Mr Harris said the project was a staged rollout, with the next phase the launch of a fee estimator tool to allow the community to estimate the fees that might apply for residential aged care.
“Stage two moves through to a more transactional business model and that is where we are doing the assessment, service matching and service referral,” Mr Harris told the forum.
“The central client record comes into play, supported by an authentication and registration process that will essentially be the same as what we use for the PCEHR.”
Mr Harris said the plan was to enable consumers to register for an aged care record and at the same time meet the requirements for the PCEHR.
“If they have already registered for the PCEHR, they shouldn't have to go through the same process again to register for My Aged Care,” he said.
“We will be doing basic electronic referrals and wait list management at that stage. Beyond 2014/15, we are moving into advance functionality for our systems, and that's where we get the integration effort, real time information flows within the sector and between the sector and My Aged Care.”
He said the delivery prime contractor would be responsible for all of the business design, technical design and implementation, operations, maintenance and ongoing support of all aspects of the system.
“A tender closed on the the ninth of August and obviously I can't discuss anything around that at this stage, but the large components of ICT for My Aged Care will be delivered by the DPC,” he said.
This will involve a new customer relationship manager system uniquely designed to support My Aged Care, as well as a new business rules engine that will support the assessment of clients,” he said.
“Other ICT considerations that are important for the DPC … are streamlined registration and authentication; the ability of service providers to exchange essential information easily and not to have a duplication of effort; a secure single source of truth for aged care information, including service provider details; the ability of users to determine client status in real time; and a secure register of identified clients.
“With the PCEHR, we don't want to develop this so we have one component of the system developed just for aged care and one for the health system. The two have to be able to speak to each other at some level.”
Mr Harris said his team had been working on how to integrate ACAT assessments into the system as well as HACC-level assessments.
“We've developed an assessment framework tool … and we've been trialling that in the jurisdictions over the last month or two,” he said.
“We are trying to refine that tool in collaboration with the sector and then build that tool into the business rules engine for the future. To support that business rules engine, obviously we need the registration and authentication and the central client record. If we have those in place, we can pretty much do business.”
Posted in Aged Care