A centralised platform developed to ship welfare funds to Centrelink prospects will change the nation’s 30-year-old Medicare funds system, ending years of uncertainty over the long-term way forward for the mission-critical system.
iTnews can reveal the SAP-based platform, which has been constructed as a part of the billion-dollar welfare funds infrastructure transformation (WPIT) program, will in the end be shared universally throughout Companies Australia.
Dubbed ‘Payment Utility’, the platform is the results of two years of labor to remodel how the company sends and receives greater than $170 billion in welfare funds via Centrelink every year.
It’s anticipated to simplify and automate each inbound and outbound funds and supply the flexibility to ship mixed, same-day funds by leveraging Australia’s real-time New Funds Platform.
However the platform has been designed as a white-label service that may additionally used throughout Companies Australia, in addition to by different authorities businesses, in step with recommendation from the Digital Transformation Company.
Whereas the company was nonetheless contemplating how the platform might be utilized extra broadly final yr, a spokesperson has now confirmed the platform, which is at present progressing via the ultimate phases of testing earlier than use, can be adopted by Medicare and Little one Help.
It follows Cost Utility’s first launch final July to course of funds associated to the Tasmanian Freight Equalisation Scheme, a program providing monetary help to shippers of eligible non-bulk items throughout the Bass Strait.
“The Payment Utility platform is in its final stages of testing and preparation prior to wider use,” the spokesperson advised iTnews.
“Over the subsequent few years, the platform can be prolonged to cowl all Centrelink, Medicare and Little one Help funds in addition to different funds.
“The platform has been designed and built as a whole-of-government asset, and will be available for use by other government departments and agencies.”
A collection of future platform releases are then anticipated to comply with till mid-2022.
Companies Australia has additionally confirmed that IBM will provide the IT infrastructure behind the platform till the tip of 2022, having secured a $15 million contract late final yr to put in Power9 infrastructure.
“This contract includes hardware, software, and services to design, build, install and support the infrastructure solution, which is an ongoing process,” the spokesperson stated.
A brand new dwelling for Medicare funds
Affirmation that Cost Utility will lengthen to Medicare ends years of uncertainty round the way forward for the important legacy funds processing system, often known as the well being and aged care funds system.
It comes virtually two years after the federal government shelved plans to exchange the ageing mainframe platform – which has been used for greater than 30 years to ship Medicare, Pharmaceutical Advantages Scheme, veterans and aged care funds – two years into the procurement.
As iTnews revealed in August 2018, the Division of Well being opted in opposition to continuing with the procurement of a proposed cloud-based digital funds platform, selecting to enhance the prevailing system run by the then Division of Human Companies as an alternative.
The procurement started after the federal government was pressured to desert plans to outsource Medicare fee processing within the wake of the so-called ‘Mediscare’ marketing campaign within the run-up to the 2016 federal election, and decide to protecting the back-end owned and operated by the general public sector.
Since dumping the procurement, the federal government has continued to bleed cash making an attempt to resuscitate the system, which discovered to be struggling an growing variety of outages in 2018 because of its persevering with deterioration.
In December, Companies Australia obtained $37 million to carry out “essential” upkeep on the funds system to make sure that it continues to function throughout the 2019-20 monetary yr.
The federal government has supplied roughly $210 million in direction of the Medicare funds methods since 2017, greater than half of which was supplied within the 2018 federal finances.