Staff at the Department of Human Services have been forced to manually generate letters and subsidy advice to aged care providers after internal systems failed to catch up with policy changes introduced in July.
Means testing for nursing home positions was introduced at the start of July this year, with the responsibility for conducting the income and assets assessments now falling on the DHS.
Industry group Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) today claimed the recent DHS IT glitch meant 370 elderly people had to wait to be admitted to aged care facilities, because the system the department relied on to means test the fees charged for each nursing home spot failed to keep up with the new demands.
A survey of Victorian LASA members found that 80 percent of applicants had not received a fulfilled assessment of the contribution they would need to make since the changes were implemented.
“Since this new system took effect on 1 July, we have seen escalating delays in our members receiving completed assessments," LASA’s Victorian president Ingrid Williams said last week.
“As a result, the provider has no information about what fee to apply to the required care, and the older person and their family are left not knowing what they will need to contribute.
“These unacceptable bureaucratic delays in critical information and subsequent care admissions are a direct result of the Centrelink system’s failure to deal with the recent changes."
A spokesman for DHS today advised iTnews the department was “urgently working to resolve the issue".
“A number of the system issues have now been fixed and an increasing number of letters are now being generated automatically,” he said.
However, a dedicated DHS team is continuing to manually generate advice forwarded to the aged care providers.
“The department is continuing to prioritise urgent cases and work through all of the assessments on hand as quickly as possible," the spokesperson said.