Podiatry Articles

3 things your aged care podiatrist should be doing at your facility(s)

The services your aged care facility is receiving these days has come a long way in recent years – most facilities now have aged-care specific suppliers who provide a service that meets the need of the resident, facility staff, and organisation all at the same time.

Recently, I asked some managers what they still see as some of the biggest issues around how services are delivered. This is a response from Simon Cavanagh, Podiatry Manager, who has consulted to 50+ aged care facilities:

Your residents are routinely being seen 6-weekly, 4 or more residents are being seen per hour, a group invoice is being generated for all ‘high care’ residents and individual invoices are being generated for all ‘low care’ residents.

What’s wrong with this picture? Potentially quite a bit actually. Some facilities are being over serviced, residents are getting seen at a rate that isn’t meeting legislative requirements, and they’re paying for services that could be funded by other means. Let’s start with the invoicing process:

Can podiatry be bulk billed so there’s no cost?

Yes. A podiatry provider should be working to ensure that all eligible residents are being bulk billed so there’s no cost to them (or the facility). To achieve this in a way that ensures legislative compliance, an in-depth knowledge of DVA and Medicare CDM requirements is a must.

How many residents per hour should a podiatrist see?

The answer to this question stems from two things – ensuring residents receive an appropriate level of care and there is compliance with funding legislation. The podiatry service may occur due to the Commonwealth funding all residential aged care facilities receive, DVA, or the CDM program… and Medicare’s requirement for podiatry is that the service is of at least 20 minutes duration.

If there are more than 3 residents per hour being seen (or more than 20 in a day) then there may be an issue with compliance and risk to resident care.

How often should a podiatrist see a resident of an aged care facility?

The industry standard for podiatry is 8-weekly consults. This means that each resident would typically receive 6.5 visits per annum.

Some organisations may have a policy that all high-risk diabetics are seen 6-weekly, but what happens if all residents are routinely being seen this often? Residents are now receiving 8.66 visits per annum. Unless it’s clinically indicated, that’s an additional expense of 33% per annum.

When it comes to podiatry, just treating residents isn’t enough – it should be a regular and consistent service to meet facilities’ needs while assisting the bulk-billing process for all eligible residents. If there’s a difference between any of these answers and the service you’re facility is receiving, click here for more information.