Notifying material changes for approved providers

Page last updated: 14 November 2019

Overview

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 with a third party for delivery of clinical care
    • use of a management company.
  • makes a change to its key personnel

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

Notifications to the Secretary about the approved providers nature and details of material changes are to be completed using the Notification of a Material Change form.

This form can also be used to notify changes to Authorised Contact details. Keeping the details of your authorised contact person up to date will ensure that important departmental notifications are received by the appropriate individual.

2019 Material Change Form Revision

On 28 October 2019, the department updated the Notification of a Material Change Form. This update:

  • removed the direction not to report key personnel;
  • added fields to collect third party information;
  • updated existing fields to make them more specific; and
  • revised the privacy notice.

From late 2016 the department advised that key personnel did not generally need to be reported (except in relation to disqualified individuals). The recent update reflects that the department now considers that changes in key personnel may be material to a provider’s suitability and as a result will generally need to be reported.

What approved providers need to do

  • Approved providers are encouraged to review their circumstances and report any arrangements, including with third party organisations, where it is considered a material change to previous operations.
  • Approved providers should notify the department of current key personnel (as at 1 November 2019) where they had not previously been notified, as they may be material to a provider’s suitability. Historical key personnel changes that do not materially impact the current circumstances of a provider do not need to be reported.
  • Approved providers must report any new key personnel changes within 28 days (as per the Act).

Provider suitability

As an approved provider, you have an ongoing responsibility to ensure that you are able to provide quality and safe aged care services at all times.  Provider suitability is assessed against the following five considerations:

  1. Experience in providing aged care or other relevant forms of care
  2. Understanding of approved provider responsibilities
  3. Systems in place to meet these responsibilities
  4. Record of financial management and the methods used to ensure sound financial management
  5. Conduct as a provider (including compliance with responsibilities as a provider) and obligations arising from the receipt of any payments from the Commonwealth for providing that aged care.

The criteria for assessing provider suitability are set out in full in section 8-3 of the Aged Care Act 1997.

Key personnel and material changes

Approved providers have reporting obligations if changes to key personnel materially affect their suitability to provide care, including if they become disqualified individuals. This is because the provider suitability criteria (except the criterion relating to the systems of the organisation) may also be considered in relation to the key personnel.

Identifying key personnel is a critical component of being an approved provider. You must ensure you understand the meaning of key personnel and establish who within the organisation meet this definition. Key personnel is defined in section 8-3A of the Aged Care Act 1997 and includes:

  • People responsible for the executive decisions of the provider (this includes directors and board members),
  • People having authority or responsibility for (or significant influence over) planning, directing or controlling the activities of the provider
  • Any person who is responsible for nursing services provided by the provider.
  • Any person who is responsible for the day-to-day operation of an aged care service conducted by the provider.

A person may be key personnel of a provider whether or not the person is employed by the provider.