Changes on Aged Care Funding and their Possible Impact with Service Provision [Interview][Transcript]

Michael_Peachey_Wellness_Lifestyles_Aged_Care_Services_SAGuest: Michael Peachey
Presenter: Wayne Bucklar
Guest Bio: Michael completed a Bachelor of Physiotherapy at the University of South Australia in 2001. Since then he has worked in numerous private, public and not-for-profit clinical settings (including rehabilitation, outpatients, hospital, domiciliary care, and residential aged care). Michael has been a committee member of the APA Gerontology Group since 2011, an auditor for the Education Advisory Sub-Committee (EASC), SA Physiotherapy Branch Council Member, is a member of the Joanna Briggs Institute (JBI) expert reference group for the aged care node, and sits on the ACS Residential Care Committee. Michael completed a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in 2013, and is currently the CEO of W&L Aged Care Services, Australia’s largest mobile allied health care provider.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, we welcome returning guest Chief Executive Officer with Wellness & Lifestyles Aged Care Services Michael Peachey to talk about the recent changes made in aged care funding and the possible impact that these may have with the services are being provided. Among the services they provide are physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy, speech pathology and dietetics. They also offer their consultancy expertise to assist aged care facilities in receiving all of the funding they’re eligible for. Online aged care education products are also provided to assist health and aged care facilities staff so that they could meet their training and development needs.


Health Professional Radio – Wellness And Lifestyles Aged Care Services

Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Health Professional Radio. My name is Wayne Bucklar and today joining me is a previous colleague who’s been with us before – Michael Peachey. Now Michael is the Chief Executive Officer of Wellness and Lifestyles Aged Care Services. And Michael joins us today to tell us a little bit about what Wellness and Lifestyles Aged Care Services do and then to bring to us some news about some changes that’s happening in the aged care sector. Michael welcome to the program.

Michael Peachey: Good afternoon Wayne.

W: Now Michael, the last time we’re on air with us you spoke about Wellness and Lifestyles Aged Care Services but many of our listeners Michael either forgotten that, heaven forbid because it was a wonderful interview or they might have missed that interview. So can you fill us in again about what it is that you do and what geographic footprint you work in?

M: No problems, Wayne. W&L or W&L Aged Care Services, we deliver specialist aged care services to improve the quality of life for older Australians, providing a one-stop-shop for aged and community care. Our allied health services include physiotherapy, podiatry, occupational therapy, speech pathology and dietetics. We provide these services to both residential aged care facilities and also community clients in their own home.

W: So Michael they all sound like what I would think of as ancillary service around actual residential care, do you provide the residential care as well?

M: No Wayne. So a lot of organizations have found out more feasible for them to outsource…functions to people who specialize in aged care. So many aged care organizations are rather than employ as those allied health professional they’d rather engage us instead.

W: Yeah that certainly makes a lot of sense, because it does allow for specialization and check. So Michael what footprint do you service geographically? Are you, where about are you located and how far do your service extend?

M: So W&L we provide services in all states in Australia and also territories as well as providing services to residential aged care facilities not just in metropolitan areas but we also provide services to regional, rural and remote settings. In terms of the size of our family, we’re one of the largest allied health provider across Australia. And several hundred staff including physios, podiatrists, OT’s, speech pathologists and dieticians as well as a support, our head office here in Adelaide with our HR, IT, etc. back here.

W: I see. Now Michael most of our audience are clinician of one kind or another and roughly 50/50 half of them working in acute care and the other half working in aged care. As a result of having a chat with you today is there a message for clinician that you’d like them to hear?

M: Yes. So look in lot of the government’s recent major release regarding changes the way aged care’s funded. The most topical service that clinical staff and patient should really know about is our physiotherapy and occupational therapy services here at W&L. Our focus is to improve resident pain management and mobility outcomes in a way that’s consistent, transparent and it support facilities both accreditation and funding needs. So although some facilities provide pain management clinics for residents, and they receive funding for this for us improving the quality of residents’ lives is actually more than just pain management. Every time we provide these interventions we’re always looking for innovative way to routinely incorporate interventions, optimize mobility, dexterity and rehabilitation as opposed to just ticking a box in relation to pain management for funding.

W: Yes, it’s a complex sector. And I often feel sorry for everyone involved in terms of the complexity of having care for aging in older Australians both from a legislative point of view from a service delivery point of view and from a point of view of aging Australians who are trying to take advantage and live in the system as well.

M: Yeah, absolutely. And our point of view is that if we partner with our clients to structure our services correctly, all residents can then actually receive interventions they need in a way that actually supports accreditation. But also meets all funding requirements and it’s cost effective of both the resident and the facility. So pretty much our philosophy is that all resident should have that opportunity to optimize in mobility and dexterity and they should as free from pain as possible.

W: Now Michael, my favorite question in every interview is about misconceptions and in every industry there are misconceptions. What are the misconceptions for you be they with you know clients, patients, where are the misconceptions that drive you nuts and keep you awake at night?

M: I guess one of the biggest misconceptions about physiotherapists and occupational therapists working in aged care, is that in some cases it’s thought that they come in and they deliver pain management to residents with minimal clinical outcomes for the resident and it’s just a support an organization’s funding. But for us if the care is first provided then it’s also documented in the right way, this will actually support the clinical needs as well as the facilities accreditation and funding. And although our transparent reporting demonstrate at W&L as an organization doesn’t believe you know disserving. There’s been some negative press in the media recently related to how facilities receive funding to provide that complex pain management for residents in aged care. And it’s been announced that this maybe reduced. So our biggest concern is that these changes may limit the amount of funding for care being received by facilities and ultimately affect resident outcomes.

W: Yes, I can see why you’d be concerned about that. And the press reports that have been surfaced about over-servicing, Michael do you think that’s a real concern? Or is it an issue of documentation and management to meet the system requirements?

M: Yeah, I believe in the second answer there. For us we deal with lot of organizations across Australia and support them to make sure they’re receiving all the funding they’re legible for. But not a dollar more and not a dollar less. The organization that we’ve come across have actually lost funding at validation hasn’t been about over claiming or fraudulent activity. It’s usually being about not necessarily having the administration so not necessarily just ticking the right box and doting your eyes and crossing their T’s to satisfy what the government want in terms of the paper work to support their clients.

W: Yes. So I’m not surprised to hear you say that because I have previously spoken with some people from the other side of the fence on the legislative side of funding. And they’ve acknowledge as well that one of the difficulties is that sometimes their compliance requirements are actually … that it’s a perverse outcome, people are doing what they want what the govern wants them to do. But reporting it is so difficult that it doesn’t get reported and then you have negative outcomes with in terms of funding and other things from the government. So it’s interesting that you see that problem as well and I guess it’s one of the things that if you’re a large systemized organization as you are, it makes it a lot easier to get your head around.

M: Absolutely. And so for us it’s about having the systems and processes in place. But having an understanding of the legislation that drives both accreditation and the funding through the … as well that makes us ensure that we can not only look after the resident. But also support the residential aged care facility who are ultimately our clients too.

W: With a little bit of luck today Michael we can help just a little bit with that misconception. And hopefully some of our listeners will have heard your words and gone “Ah there’s a solution to a problem that I’ve got.” Michael for people who want to get in touch with you at Wellness and Lifestyles Aged Care Services, what’s the best way for them to do that?

M: The best way to either email us at or they can call us on 1300 952 433.

W: Now I’m always getting into trouble when I give phone numbers and don’t give people enough notice to get their pencils ready. So fair warning listeners pencils ready, that number was 1300 952 433. Michael I do appreciate your time today, thanks for making yourself available and for bringing to our attention the issue with changing funding in the aged care sector.

M: Thanks Wayne. Have a great day.

W: Thank you very much. If you’ve just missed my conversation with Michael Peachey the CEO of Wellness and Lifestyles Aged Care Services, I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is you can look a transcript on our website. You can also listen to the sound archive on both YouTube and SoundCloud and there are links to all of those resources on our website at And the bad news is well, there is no bad news. Enjoy listening to that interview with Michael in our archive if you’ve missed it live on air. This is Wayne Bucklar and you’re listening to Health Professional Radio.

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