About the program
The National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program (QI Program) became compulsory on 1 July 2019.
It is a mandatory program for Commonwealth-subsidised residential aged care services, made so under the 2019 Federal Budget Measure More Choices for a Longer Life – Mandatory National Quality Indicators.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) publishes quarterly and annual quality indicator data on thee GEN Aged Care Data website. The quarterly report contains quality indicator data at a national, state and territory level. The annual report contains national quality indicator and descriptive material about the quality indicators.
The QI Program aims to support providers to measure and monitor their performance, support continuous quality improvement and contribute to improved outcomes for consumers.
The QI Program will, over time, give consumers transparent information about quality in aged care to assist them in making more informed decisions about their aged care.
More information about the program is available on the Department of Health website.
What are the quality indicators?
From 1 July 2021, the QI Program is being updated and expanded to include new quality indicators so services will need to collect data and report on:
- pressure injuries
- physical restraint
- unplanned weight loss
- falls and major injury (new)
- medication management (new) including polypharmacy and anti-psychotics.
Services must collect information against these 5 indicators from 1 July 2021. This data needs to be represented as a percentage of aged care recipients who have experienced each quality indicator. The July–September 2021 quarter information must be submitted by 21 October 2021.
Providers must submit quality indicator data no later than the 21st day of the month after the end of each quarter. Providers must submit their data through the Department of Health’s My Aged Care service provider portal.
Where a commercial benchmarking company continues to submit the data on behalf of a service, the provider remains responsible for making sure the data is both accurate and submitted by the required dates.
Why is the program important?
The QI Program is important because it measures aspects of quality of care which may affect residential consumers’ health and wellbeing.
- helps aged care service providers to measure, monitor, compare and improve the quality of their services. They can then identify trends in their performance over time and compare themselves against national averages. This will lead to an even better quality of care and quality of life for consumers
- provides nationally comparable quality indicator data across residential care services in Australia
- creates an evidence base to make quality improvement initiatives simpler.
Over time, the program will enhance how aged care consumers understand quality in residential care services because they can access better information.
Who oversees the QI Program?
Management of certain aspects of the QI Program transitioned from the Department of Health to the Commission on 1 October 2020.
The Commission’s role in the QI Program includes:
- educating and communicating with providers about the QI Program
- encouraging and monitoring compliance with the program
- integrating QI Program data more broadly into our regulatory activities
- analysing and reporting on quality indicator data in conjunction with the AIHW.
The quality indicator data provided by residential aged care service providers is used to guide our regulatory activities. The data is important to providers and to the Commission. While we will work with providers to help them understand how to comply with the upcoming changes to the QI Program, the Commission’s approach to non-reporting of information can be found in our Compliance and Enforcement Policy.
The policy functions of the QI Program were retained by the Department of Health including:
- development and implementation of new and revised quality indicators
- development of communication and guidance materials for the new quality indicators
- operation and enhancement of the My Aged Care platform (the provider portal that you submit your QI data through)
- legislative changes to the Accountability Principles 2014 and the Records Principles 2014.
The following principles under the Aged Care Act 1997 were amended to make the QI Program mandatory:
Providers continue to send reports to the Secretary of the Department of Health. The Department of Health discloses QI Program data to the Commission under section 86-3(1)(ba) of the Aged Care Act. This allows the Commission to perform its functions under the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission Act 2018.
QI Program manual
The Department of Health owns the National Aged Care Mandatory Quality Indicator Program Manual. It includes the definitions for each quality indicator and explains how to collect and submit quality indicator data..
The Department of Health updated QI Program Manual 2.0 – Part A and QI Program Manual 2.0 – Part C to reflect the QI Program expansion that took effect on 1 July 2021. QI Program Manual 2.0 – Part B will be available soon.
Other program resources can be found on the Department of Health website, including more guidance materials about the expanded program such as quick reference guides, interactive modules, frequently asked questions, the 26 May webinar recording, data recording templates and information sheets.
A number of reviews and reports have supported a mandatory and expanded QI Program, including the Review of national aged care quality regulatory processes (Carnell/Paterson, 2017).
Government-subsidised aged care service providers and assessors can call the Department of Health helpline to get assistance with the provider and assessor portals and the QI Program.
Call 1800 836 799 from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday or from 10am to 2pm Saturday.