A message from David Hamer, Managing Director
Our response to COVID-19
HDAA is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and putting in place a number of measures to protect service participants, workers and staff, and assessors during the pandemic. Transparency with communications regarding people’s wellness and the local situation will be essential.
Last year, HDAA was internationally accredited to use remote computer-based technology when completing assessments. To the extent allowed by regulators, we expect to move very quickly to using remote technology to complete assessments that would otherwise be completed on-site. We’ll provide more details as regulators provide clarity on the extent to which remote technology can be used. We will progressively be contacting services who have on-site assessment booked with HDAA to determine whether a remote audit will be appropriate and to confirm what technology services have available.
Because of the scale of the pandemic and its speed of infection, there may be times that assessors become sick and we do not have a replacement assessor available. We’ll do all that we can to ensure continuity of the assessment, but there may be occasions when the assessment needs to be cancelled because a lack of available assessors. The office team will do everything they can to provide the relevant support such as re-scheduling the assessment in such a situation.
Updates from the sector
NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission
The NDIS Commission has communicated with us to say that it expects that Auditors will:
- Review audit practices taking into consideration information and guidance from the Australian Government Department of Health, to enable the continued provision of auditing services to providers in a manner that minimises the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for participants, providers and auditors;
- Engage with providers where audits are scheduled to occur, to confirm provider availability to continue where practicable to do so;
- Where going ahead in agreement with the provider, establishing clear arrangements for conducting Stage 2 audit activities in a way that minimises risk. For example, (1) practicing social distancing and avoiding unnecessary physical contact; (2) personal hygiene practices including handwashing; (3) use of locations and venues that minimise risk; and (4) undertake telephone interviews with providers; and (5) use of technologies for collecting audit evidence such as videoconference, telephone and web-based meetings, and electronic file transfer;
- Where providers are not in a position to proceed, delaying or rescheduling audit dates. Decisions to suspend or delay completion of a Stage 2 audit beyond 3-months, as provided in the NDIS Audit Scheme Guidelines, should be recorded in audit reports.
The NDIS Commission is expected to provide further advice shortly, including arrangements for varying conditions of registration where necessary to allow an extended period of time for providers to complete the registration process, including audits.
National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards Accreditation
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has issued guidelines on the completion of NSQHS Standards assessment and accreditation. The details of this can be found on the Commission’s website.
We will continue to update this page. Take care, and if you have any questions at all please do not hesitate for a moment and call us on 1800 601 696.