All residential care providers will be covered for the cost of hiring extra staff and covering workers who need to self-isolate at home, according to the Department of Health’s latest update for providers.
“This will be through an uplift to subsidies paid through the Aged Care Funding Instrument with effect from 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020. Funding will start to flow to providers from April 2020,” it states.
If providers do have a resident or staff member test positive for COVID-19, the Department says providers should attempt to fill vacancies through their usual channels such as looking at rostering arrangements, working with other providers to identify available staff or going to organisations to get agency staff.
As we covered last week, providers can also apply for $52.9 million in grants to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in their homes – but this funding will only be available retrospectively once all the COVID-19 cases have been resolved.
If providers have still not been able to fill vacant positions, the Government says providers may be eligible to source workforce through Mable’s online platform (mable.com.au), with which it has partnered to help providers replace skill shortages – for example, if an RN or personal care worker is urgently needed and can’t be sourced by the provider.
“This is designed to fill an immediate gap while the provider finds a longer-term solution. Support workers engaged via Mable will be available to the provider for up to four weeks and payable by the Department,” the Department says.
The partnership appears to be a coup for the aged care disrupter, which was founded by Peter Scutt and Tony Charara in 2014 as Better Caring.
The platform, which has raised around $15 million for investors, has around 8,000 people providing support on its books.
To access the Mable service, providers will need to call the My Aged Care Provider and Assessor Helpline on 1800 836 799 where they will be asked a series of screening and eligibility questions to make sure that this is the most appropriate support for your situation.
Providers can also use the Mable platform to fill vacancies at any time even if they are not affected by COVID-19 – but the Department warns that providers will then be responsible for the costs of hiring.
Emergency support arrangements are also available for providers who experience a “significant outbreak” and find they can no long deliver services safely, the Department says.