Professor Murphy, who will hold a workshop with aged care providers on Friday, said: “We have to make sure that they’re all at the same top level.”
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has said aged care residents are particularly vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, which presents as a more serious illness in older people, who are more likely to die if they contract it.
Ms Anderson said aged care providers which “may be, or are at greater risk of non-compliance with the infectious control standards” were in her sights and those assessed as being “at higher risk” should expect to hear from the Aged Care Quality Commission.
“We are getting in touch with them and determining what sort of action should be taken … on a service by service basis,” she said.
Audited providers could be asked to produce documents detailing their infection control procedures, or receive a visit by the commissioner – although, Ms Anderson said, “we would do so cautiously, because we don’t want our staff to become vectors in an infectious disease outbreak”.
Asked if she knew which aged care centres posed the highest risk, Ms Anderson said she was “not in a position to say” as the commission was still “undertaking that work” by combing through the records of the nation’s 2700 residential aged care facilities.
“We have vast amounts of information available to us,” she said.
Breaches of aged care quality standards relating to personal and clinical care and organisational governance and consumer complaints would be red flags.
Ms Anderson said the commission “routinely” audited providers as part of its regulatory activities, and a previous survey of vaccination rates of aged care staff had found 97 per cent of providers were taking adequate action.
Aged care providers were required to manage any risks to the standard of care given to residents, she said, including infectious diseases.