Electronic Aged Care Funding Instrument Management
Since its introduction in 2008, the Aged Care Funding Instrument used by the Australian Government has been widely recognised to do two things well, it provides a high level of fairness in funding to aged care providers and it complicates the business of administration of aged care provision. This complication has led to the widespread adoption of software that simplifies the business of ACFI claiming and reporting.
The ACFI system requires aged care providers to report promptly to Medicare on residents’ movements, diagnoses and care requirements. This level of detailed reporting may increase the fairness of funding allocation, but it places a burden on aged care staff, who may be required to learn about the funding instrument, the reporting process and the administrative processes of record keeping required. In many cases this has necessitated the diversification of the skills of individual workers to cover the varied requirements of the ACFI system. In some cases specialist roles have been created within organisations and in others consultants have been hired to meet the business needs of being an ACFI dependant organisation.
Specialised software is available to ease the burden of ACFI administration. At a basic level this software will perform the mathematical calculations necessary to determine the levels of funding a provider should expect to receive for a resident, given the residents financial status and medical condition. Since these calculations are not trivial, and the logic behind them may require some effort to understand unassisted (see Detailed Business Rules and Scenarios for the Aged Care Funding Instrument Version 1.2) this function may be of great assistance to the aged care administrator.
ACFI optimisation, the science of correctly using the ACFI system to receive the full funding available to a provider can also be assisted by the correct software. Complex calculations lend themselves to errors or oversights and without specialist software it can be easy to miss a report or diagnosis that could cost your business significantly.
More advanced software offers resident management functionality integrated with ACFI optimisation. This greatly reduces the overheads associated with entering resident data into multiple systems in order to perform the functions of your business. Funding, care and administration all require extensive record keeping and prompt access to relevant data. Software that offers a single point of entry to that data lets aged care staff enter data only once, and access the information relevant to their jobs without the delays associated with multiple systems, which might be the property of separate departments.
Another feature of the best aged care software solutions is electronic Medicare B2B reporting. This allows the communication with Medicare necessary to receiving ACFI funding to be done online, with much of the process automated and error checked. This system not only offers a simplified reporting process, it also further aids in the consolidation of records, allowing reports to be automatically generated about which submissions are outstanding, which have been made and which have been accepted.
Care requires extensive record keeping care workers might diligently track residents’ behaviour and physical condition, but without records, other workers will not be able to care for these residents. Residents care requirements must be accessible to staff to enable them to care for residents. These care requirements are just as important to administrators dealing with Medicare reporting. A good care system makes important data available to care workers, shift managers and admin staff. It also ensures that they can share information easily and that if one worker records information, everyone who needs access to it can get it.
Another consideration is the company backing the software. Do they offer training? Are their training staff industry experts or do they hire people without relevant knowledge to handle their training? Do they offer technical support for their product and what turnaround time does their technical support give? There is a lot of difference between being able to call someone up who can solve your problems verses filling out a form online and hoping someone will email within a week.
When considering the electronic aged care management system that is best for their needs, a provider should consider all these features. A good solution should incorporate a single store of data, ease of access, integrated Medicare reporting, ACFI optimisation and be backed up with a promise of training and technical support. Electronic record keeping, Medicare reporting and care can bring enormous efficiency benefits to your organisation but choosing the right product is of vital importance.
Nurse friendly aged care software