Bupa aged care sanctions lifted early

Cher Jimenez

GOVERNMENT sanctions against Bupa Traralgon were lifted before Christmas Day ahead of the original expiration date set by the federal health department.

According to the My Aged Care website, sanctions against Bupa Traralgon were lifted on December 24, 2019, 25 days before the January 18, 2020 deadlines when the original sanctions would have expired.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission, which took over the function of monitoring compliance including lifting of sanctions against aged care facilities from the federal health department starting January 1, confirmed the decision to The Express.

ACQS commissioner Janet Anderson said an assessment was done at the Park Lane facility on December 10, 2019 where the service was found to have complied with all 42 requirements under the quality standards for aged care services.

“Following this, Bupa applied to the department of health to have its sanctions lifted,” Ms Anderson said.

“On December 24, 2019 the (department) made the decision, based on the information available including the commission’s findings, to lift the sanctions applied to Bupa Traralgon prior to the original expiry date of 18 January 2020.”

Ms Anderson said providers can apply to have sanctions lifted ahead of deadline if they were able to prove that “they have returned to compliance” and that they are “likely to maintain compliance.”

“If a provider fails to return to compliance, the commission has a number of regulatory actions it can take including imposing additional sanctions (including financial penalties), as part of an escalation process,” she said.

“The commission will continue to monitor Bupa Traralgon to ensure the continued safety and well-being of care recipients.”

A Bupa spokesperson told The Express the company was pleased the sanctions were lifted.

In April 2019, a review audit found the Traralgon-based facility breached all four government accreditation standards covering management systems, health and personal care, care recipient lifestyle and physical environment and safe systems.

The “extremely high level of non-compliance across all standards” identified during the audit prompted the health department to withhold Commonwealth subsidies for new clients for a period of nine months.

This was the second time sanctions were imposed on Bupa three months after it passed government audit in early 2018.

“We’ve made a number of changes at our Traralgon home and are pleased that the home’s sanction was lifted in December 2019. Improvements include reviewing our staffing, introducing new management and a refocus on staff education,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have retained an independent advisor who oversaw the changes during the sanction, so we can ensure the improvements are sustainable and we can maintain the standards our residents deserve.”