Australian Government - Department of Health - Office of Hearing Services
Hearing Services Program

Provider Factsheet 2 - Managing client relocations

Information for contracted service providers (providers) about managing program client relocations.

Hearing Services Program (the program) clients have the right to choose where they receive their hearing services and can choose to relocate to a new provider at any time. Rule 12 of the Hearing Services Rules of Conduct 2012 (the Rules) outlines the program requirements regarding clients relocating between providers.

Key Messages

  • Program clients can choose to relocate to a new provider at any time.
  • Client consent must be obtained before processing the relocation in the Hearing Services Program portal (the portal) and written consent must be held on the client’s file.
  • In situations where the client’s written consent cannot be obtained initially, client consent can be obtained verbally. However, you must document this verbal consent on the client’s file and obtain signed written consent at the first appointment.
  • The new provider must ensure that the client understands that by giving consent to the relocation they will now receive services from the new provider. A notification will be sent to the previous provider to transfer the client’s file.
  • Previous providers must transfer a client’s complete record to the new provider within seven days of the relocation notice[1]. The record must include copies of all claim forms.
  • The previous provider must submit any outstanding claims within 28 days of the relocation notice by emailing the client’s details and signed claim form/s to hearing@health.gov.au.
  • Program clients must not be pressured to return to their previous provider. Any follow-up with clients regarding their relocation to a new provider should ideally be in writing.
  • The program monitors program client relocations and targeted audits are undertaken to ensure processes supporting relocations are being followed.

New Providers Must Obtain Client Consent to Relocate a Client

A client relocation should only occur if the client (or their Power of Attorney (POA)) gives the new provider their consent and provides the required four points of identity (1) eligibility number/voucher number, (2) client first name, (3) client surname and (4) date of birth. Providers need to ensure that relocating clients understand that their file will be transferred to the new provider.

It is expected that, in most cases, the new provider will be able to obtain a relocating client’s written consent prior to initiating the relocation in the portal. However, for the convenience of clients, so that they need not visit their new provider until their client file has been transferred, verbal consent is sufficient for the new provider to initiate the relocation process in the portal. This verbal consent, including the date and the reason why the client could not yet provide their signed consent, should be documented on the client’s file. The client’s signed, written consent to relocate must still be obtained at the first appointment and must be kept on the client’s file.

Processing a Relocation and Record Keeping

Each client is linked to their chosen provider in the portal. This link allows their provider to review, sort and edit the client’s record. The client’s record is safeguarded by limiting access in the portal exclusively to their chosen provider.

When the new provider initiates the relocation through the portal this creates a link between the client and the new provider. The previous provider receives an automated email notification (i.e. a relocation notice). The previous provider will no longer have access to the client information in the portal. Information on how to process a relocation in the portal is available in the HSO User Guide – Hearing Services Providers.

The relocation notice instructs the previous provider to send the client’s complete file, including copies of all claim forms, to the new provider within seven business days.1 Original claim forms should be kept by the previous provider for seven (7) years following the date of the last claim. After this time they can be disposed of in accordance with the National Archives of Australia guidelines for disposing of information.

This is also an opportunity to raise any issues with the new provider, as appropriate, such as outstanding claims or part delivery of a service. New providers should check with the previous provider whether there are any outstanding claims to be submitted before delivering services to the client.

Submitting Outstanding Claims for a Relocated Client

All outstanding claims must be submitted by the previous provider within 28 days of receipt of the relocation notification. If you need to submit a manual claim, you can do this by emailing hearing@health.gov.au with the client details and the signed claim form.

Contacting Relocated Clients

Provider choice is a client right. Clients should not be contacted and pressured into staying with their previous provider if they have chosen to relocate. Providers may contact clients who have relocated away to obtain feedback. Ideally this should be done in writing.

Monitoring Compliance

As part of the program’s compliance monitoring activities, rates of relocations are monitored.  Relocation audits are also undertaken to ensure processes supporting client relocations, including record keeping, are followed. Any provider who is found to breach the relocation requirements will be subject to further compliance action.

If we become aware of increasing numbers of unauthorised relocations, we will reconsider the relocation processes, including the verbal consent provisions.



[1] A relocation notice is an email instruction from Hearing Services. It is automatically generated when a provider uses the portal to transfer a client from another provider. In accordance with Clause 4.1(h) of the Contract, the file must be transferred as directed.

 

PF2 - Managing Client Relocations (PDF 76 KB)

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