Approved Provider Information

Page last updated: 23 February 2017

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What is an approved provider?

An approved provider of aged care is an organisation that has been approved to provide residential care, home care or flexible care under the Aged Care Act 1997 (the Act). To receive Australian Government aged care subsidies an organisation must be an approved provider.

An approved provider is responsible for the decisions about the delivery of care and financial management of subsidies and care recipient’s fees and payments. The approved provider has responsibilities and obligations to deliver the care in line with the standards that are specified in the Act and the Aged Care Principles.

To gain approval as a provider of aged care under the Act, the applicant and its proposed key personnel, such as directors, board members and service managers must be assessed by the department as suitable to provide aged care.

What you must consider before applying to provide aged care

  • your organisation must be  incorporated
  • your organisation must be able to demonstrate how it is suitable to provide aged care
  • your organisation must not have any disqualified individuals as key personnel
  • you must apply using the approved form

If providing residential aged care, the organisation must also be accredited by the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (the Quality Agency). Information about accreditation is located in the Quality Agency Principles 2013. Further information about the Quality Agency is available on its website AACQA.gov.au

The approved provider is only eligible to receive a payment when care recipients are assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) as being eligible to receive that type of care.

Approval as a provider of aged care under the Act

To gain approval as a provider of aged care under the Act, the applicant and its proposed key personnel, such as directors, board members and service managers must be assessed by the department as suitable to provide aged care.

Approval can be for one or more types of care (residential, flexible and home care) and for one or more specified aged care services. Once approved, the approved provider can provide care in any number of services (subject to any limitations imposed). Division 8 of the Act sets out the approval process requirements. State, territory and local government authorities are taken to be approved providers unless the approval has lapsed or been revoked (please refer to section 8-6 of the Act).

Criteria for approval

The primary requirements to become an approved provider are:

  • that the applicant is an incorporated body (section 8-1(1)(b) of the Act)
  • that the applicant is suitable to provide aged care (section 8-1(1)(c) of the Act)
  • that none of the applicant’s proposed key personnel is a disqualified individual (i.e. convicted of an indictable offence, insolvent or of unsound mind) (section 8-1(1)(d) and section 10A–1 of the Act) and
  • the application is made on the approved form (section 8-2(2) of the Act).

The department considers a range of issues when assessing suitability, including an applicant’s:

  • ability to provide care
  • record of financial management
  • ability to meet relevant standards for aged care
  • commitment to the rights of aged care recipients.

The department also considers the suitability and experience of the staff in management positions, known as key personnel, and the track record of the organisation and the key personnel in the provision of aged care or other similar activities.

Application forms

Significant changes have been made to the Application for Approval to Provide Aged Care form. Two application options are now available: 

Form A - for applicants that are not approved providers of aged care

Form A - is for organisations that are not currently approved providers of aged care and would like to apply to become approved providers for residential care, home care and/ or flexible care.

Note: If you are currently only providing services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) and would like to apply to become an approved provider, you should complete Form A and indicate the care type(s) you would like to apply for, ensuring you complete all the relevant sections.

Form B – for existing approved providers seeking approval to provide another type of care

Form B - is for existing providers that have already demonstrated their suitability to provide aged care through a previous assessment process. It seeks more specific detail about providing an additional type of care.

Home Care Service Notification form

Home Care Service Notification form  - is for  approved providers of home care to notify the Secretary of the home care service(s) that you intend to provide.

Notice of this information must be provided before any care for which home care subsidy is to be claimed and a separate form must be completed for each home care service. 

This form should also be used if you are an existing provider looking to change the name and/or address of an existing service that you are operating.

Note: You must be an approved provider of home care under the Act before you submit this form.

Flexible Care/Short-Term Restorative Care

The new application forms let organisations apply for approval to provide flexible care. Seeking approval to provide flexible care enables organisations to apply for Short-term Restorative Care (STRC) places. If you intend to apply for Short-Term Restorative Care places and your organisation is not currently approved to provide flexible care, submit the appropriate form as soon as possible.

Download an application form

Do not complete an application form if your organisation would simply like to display its service(s) on My Aged Care. 

Displaying services on My Aged Care

Information about registering with My Aged Care, including fact sheets, FAQs, user guides, quick reference guides and videos are available on the department’s website.

Commonwealth-funded providers

If your organisation is already a Commonwealth-funded approved provider and does not currently appear on the My Aged Care website, please send an email to MyAgedCare@health.gov.au and provide details of your organisation and a contact person. Once we receive your email, we will contact you to progress the request.

Non-Commonwealth funded providers

If your organisation is an aged care service provider that doesn’t receive Australian Government subsidies, you can list your service on My Aged Care through the National Health Services Directory.

State, territory and local government authorities

State, Territory and local government authorities are taken to be approved providers unless the approval has lapsed or been revoked (section 8-6 of the Act).

What are key personnel?

Key personnel are defined in section 8-3A of the Act as:

  • people responsible for the executive decisions of the applicant (this includes directors and board members)
  • people having authority or responsibility for (or significant influence over) planning, directing or controlling the activities of the applicant
  • any person responsible for nursing services provided, or to be provided, by the applicant, whether or not the person is employed by the applicant and
  • any person who is, or likely to be, responsible for the day-to-day operation of an aged care service conducted, or proposed to be conducted, by the applicant, whether or not the person is employed by the applicant.
  • key personnel cannot be a disqualified individual.

The contact person for your application should be a key personnel.

What is disqualified individual?

A disqualified individual is defined under section 10A-1 of the Act as someone who:

  • has been convicted of an indictable offence
  • is an insolvent under administration (bankrupt)
  • is of unsound mind.

 When an organisation seeks to be approved to provide aged care, and after being approved, it must demonstrate that it satisfies strict requirements set out in the legislative provisions under the Act. In particular, its experience, suitability, and proposed key personnel are considered, including that none of the proposed key personnel is a disqualified individual.

To demonstrate this, the applicant is required to provide evidence that none of the proposed key personnel has been convicted of an indictable offence.  Each state and territory law identifies different types of offences as being indictable.  These may include more serious offences, such as murder, manslaughter, and aggravated assault, or the intentional and unlawful administration of drugs or poisons and committing fraudulent or dishonest activities.

The department may conduct a search of records held by the Australian Financial Security Authority, specifically the National Personal Insolvency Index, for all proposed key personnel of the applicant.

National police checks

The applicant and each of its proposed key personnel must provide an original or certified copy of a national police check (NPC) with their application. Each NPC must be dated no more than 90 days before the date the application is received by the department

Further information about national criminal history record checks can be obtained from the Australian Federal Police website.

How long does it take to approve an application?

Under section 8-5 of the Act, an applicant must be notified within 90 days of receiving the application, whether or not they are approved as a provider of aged care. Accurate, clear and complete information must be provided. If you are required to provide further information, it will delay the decision on your application.

Requests for further information

If further information is required to assess your application a request will be made under section 8-4 of the Act. Information must be given within 28 days otherwise the application is taken to be withdrawn.  If further information is provided within the 28 day timeframe, a further 90 day timeframe applies. 

Allocation of places

There are two ways that approved providers can acquire “places”:

  • be successful in an application for places in an Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) or
  • acquire places from an approved provider and apply to the department for approval to transfer places from the transferor to the transferee.

The department is responsible for the allocation of aged care places. The planning system aims to ensure that all communities have a fair and equitable level of aged care services.  Aged care places are allocated annually through a highly competitive selection process, the ACAR, which takes into account the number of places made available, the identified needs of an aged care planning region and the relative merits of the proposals received. The ACAR is advertised in major newspapers and on the department’s website. Information about the ACAR can be found in the Aged Care Funding section of the department's website.

Notifying a change of circumstance that materially affects the suitability of an approved provider

Approved providers are required to notify the department of changes that materially affect the suitability of an approved provider to provide aged care within 28 days after the change occurs.

A material change is one that is substantial or considerable in nature. For example, the approved provider:

  • is no longer an incorporated organisation
  • is unable to meet any of the home, flexible or residential care standards
  • is unable to manage its financial responsibilities including subsidies and care recipient’s fees and payments
  • makes a change which may affect the rights of aged care recipients
  • makes substantial changes to its organisational or governance structure such as
    • entering into a brokerage arrangement for delivery of clinical care
    • use of a management company.

These are examples only and approved providers should consider each situation individually.

Updating operational contact details

Approved providers should contact their local state or territory office to update operational contact details such as email, postal addresses or other relevant contact information.

Contact Us

Questions relating to approved provider applications should be emailed to ApprovedProviderProgram@health.gov.au