How Aged Care providers can be confident they’re ready for what’s next

The new Aged Care Quality Standards come into effect on July 1st 2019.

By ansaradaMon Jul 29 2019

The Royal Commission so far has put immense pressure on providers who now need the confidence and certainty they are monitoring and delivering outcomes like never before.

“An already fragile industry is now faced with a perfect storm scenario: social expectations developing faster than the regulatory framework and the sector’s ability to respond; in many cases, inadequate infrastructure; financially constrained business models; and a lack of maturity in terms of governance, monitoring and auditing,” says Willem Punt, who focuses on governance, risk and compliance at Deloitte.

The new levels of regulatory scrutiny are adding costly compliance burdens to already struggling Aged Care companies, who have suffered a significant decline in value since the Royal Commission was announced last year, in part due to the negative sentiment toward the sector.

Providers who have already invested thousands of hours of effort – and hundreds of millions of dollars into preparation, assessment and advisory fees since the beginning of the year – are now facing the threat of falling occupancy rates.

It’s far from over. Surprise audits and mandatory record-keeping will continue to put a drain on resources and budgets as companies scramble to achieve the expensive, manual process of ‘always-on’ compliance.

To weather the disruption, Aged Care companies need to focus on three key areas in order to be confident they are ready for what they will face next – expected and otherwise.

1. Demonstrate and maintain continuous compliance

While the majority of Aged Care providers already operate to a high standard of quality care, the difficulty lies in proving this with material evidence.

“One of the challenges facing the sector is locating supporting evidence to back up claims that they treat customers and staff well. They will also need to resource for a significant compliance burden in relation to reaction to the commission’s notices, preparation of supporting materials, witness statements and the like,” said Punt.

The new Quality Standards will require Aged Care providers to consistently and continuously prove and improve the quality of care. Unexpected audits will become the new norm, with the new Quality and Safety commission planning to triple unannounced reaccreditation audits of residential aged care homes this year with more surveillance.

The successful provider of the future will house and maintain their material information in a single platform, keeping it automatically integrated, up-to-date and fully visible for when an auditor or other third party needs to view it.

2. Establish new frameworks and improved practices

Deloitte partners Michael Kitts and Willem Punt say the commission will ‘demand new frameworks supporting quality of care, conduct and outcomes-focused delivery of services which prioritise public trust, keep faith with customer promises and secure the outcomes and experiences that matter to care recipients.’ Being in the spotlight has undoubtedly surfaced some of the sector’s most harrowing systemic failures, and business models need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

The biggest part of this rebuild will be laying the foundations to carefully track every outcome, to protect society’s most vulnerable and keep Aged Care providers accountable.
“Many Aged Care organisations may not sufficiently understand what is happening at the coalface. Traditionally, they are not designed or set up to monitor outcomes at the levels of accuracy and reliability that the commission will demand,” said Punt.

New business practices and processes will be transformed into automated pathways that simplify information capture, review and compliance. That same set of information then becomes the foundation for rapidly pursuing any material event – from board and strategy reviews, through to M&A, capital raises, and audits.

“Pathways have enabled M&A, audits, and major tenders to be undertaken with ease and certainty,” said Sam Riley, CEO, Ansarada. “We’re applying the same technology to enable Aged Care providers to remove the cost and complexity of compliance while enabling them to reuse material information for any event they face – from acquisitions to financing, through to board reporting. This will shift CEOs and their teams from uncertainty to certainty.”

3. Seize opportunity and accelerate M&A

Despite the challenges, there are plenty of high-value transactions on the horizon. With strong healthcare interest from global players and the government promising record levels of funding support for senior Australians, the opportunity for those who are able to back their commitment to high-quality standards of care with evidence is substantial.

To get on the front foot of these benefits, Aged Care providers ‘need to move early to assess and, where necessary, improve their ability to build trust and keep customer promises.’ They need to be confident in the knowledge that they are up to standards, and that they’re ready to jump when opportunities arise.
Meeting the Quality Standards was step one

Now that providers have done the hard work pulling together their critical evidence and documentation to comply for the July 1st deadline, it’s time they kept it that way, with every risk addressed and every opportunity uncovered.

Compliance can be a constant state and not a one-off event. Ansarada’s platform gives you real-time visibility into the state of your business by automating and scoring the capture and storage of material information. We call it always-on readiness, and it’s the only solution to staying at the forefront of regulatory compliance and opportunity.