19th Apr 2017

Government releases aged care funding report

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The future of aged care
Ben Hocking

The Federal Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, released a report into the alternative approaches to aged care funding yesterday, two months after it was originally delivered.

The report, prepared by the Australian Health Services Research Institute at the University of Wollongong, outlines five suggestions for improving the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI), which it states is “no longer fit for purpose”.

The report states that the current model doesn’t adequately categorise residents based on their care needs, with one third of all residents classified to just one ACFI payment class, with 63 classes rarely claimed.

One of the suggested options includes adopting the four funding levels currently in place for home care packages, but with pricing reflecting the higher cost of residential care. Another option suggests implementing an activity-based funding system similar to that used in hospitals.



A further option includes refining the current ACFI system, with ongoing monitoring to avoid cost blow-outs.

Mr Wyatt said the Government currently contributes $17.5 billion a year towards aged care, and that this figure was set to grow to just under $21 billion by 2020.

“It’s important that we review the way we fund aged care to ensure we create an aged care system that is affordable, sustainable, flexible and responsive to consumers,” Mr Wyatt said.

“In 2015–16, more than 1.3 million older people received some form of aged care and with more Australians living longer and healthier lives, those numbers will increase.

“To meet the level of demand for aged care services now and into the future the Australian Government needs to make sure its funding gives the best possible value for money.”

A separate review of the current Aged Care Funding Instrument is also being undertaken by Applied Aged Care Solutions.

“That review will focus on options to improve the current tool to make it less subjective, including the feasibility of external assessment,” Minister Wyatt said.

“These two separate but important pieces of work will help inform the Government’s deliberations over the future direction for funding reform.

“The aged care sector will continue to play a key role in this reform and there will be further consultation with the sector before any decisions are made on funding options.”

Read the full report.

Related articles:
Aged care assessment explained
How home care packages have changed





COMMENTS

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Ted Wards
20th Apr 2017
11:21am
When compared to government wastage over age care and funding over the last five years, the turn around in directions, the changing of portfolio from department to department, the so called consultations where we were told what was happening rather than consulted, and all the other things aged care related, this is a mere drop in the ocean. Why do we never hear about how much this progressive change has cost us since 2012? The issue is as long as you focus on money you will never get this system right. This is people's lives we are dealing with and that should be the only focus and concern. Id love for all these policy makers to just visit a residential care place and see what really goes on. What they usually see is what they want to see, not what really occurs.
TREBOR
20th Apr 2017
12:01pm
What did someone say yesterday? Not driven by evidence based policy, but by policy based evidence?
mareela
20th Apr 2017
11:44am
I agree With you Ted Wards. We should be looking at caring for aged care residents. There is so much focus on funding and rotting the system by providers that the care given to residents are totally overlooked. Or I should say the lack of care. The profiteering at the expense of quality care for residents is mind boggling and no government seems to care. Of course no relatives or MP's will ever be faced with the problem of paying for aged care like the vast majority of Australians. Staffing at aged care facilities is appalling, particularly on PH's. Until the government legislates adequate patient staff ratios, care of the aged will never improve. Most facilities barely pay their care staff the minimum wage. They need to increase staff wages also to reflect the hard work that they do. I could go on and on but the sheer neglect of the aged care sector causes me much frustration and shame that a country like Australia can continue to condone the neglect of our elderly all for the sake of profiteering by providers.
TREBOR
20th Apr 2017
12:06pm
While in SA, the ex and I visited her cousin, and he is a board member (voluntary) of a religiously based retirement village. All separate accommodations, owned by the occupants, and not rorted to generate profit. All very well done.

Perhaps more of a retirement village than 'home', but still.

On the other hand, I was amazed, when looking through the job ads the other day around here, to see that the majority were in 'healthcare', and they were seeking a registered nurse starting at $41 an hour. I thought the Florence Nightingales did it tough and were paid a pittance.

Anyway that base around $1600 a week plus penalties etc.... interesting when you look at costs.

Not sure of the answer here, with so many competing interests and continually rising costs of living constantly impinging on the Wage Race.
TREBOR
20th Apr 2017
12:00pm
Of course it is! I walk into the club well dressed and neat and clean, stirring interest in the 30 yo women divorcees sitting at the pokies and creating a burble as I pass - then stride to the bar to spend my $11.40 increase on two beers.....

After all... class shows, as does breeding, old boy!

(joke people - joke time)...
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
9:56pm
Maybe they thought you wanted a pokie!!!!!!!!!
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
9:59pm
Probably light beer.
looney
20th Apr 2017
1:20pm
Sounds like our population is out stripping our resources me think.Our past Governments sins are catching up with them.
Old Geezer
20th Apr 2017
1:36pm
Time to allow people to die with dignity instead of playing bingo in God's waiting room waiting for their number to be called. Only thing worse is palliative care where they kill you slowly by increasing the dosage until your body gives up. We are such a dreadful society allowing people to be exposed to these practices.
Slimmer Cat
20th Apr 2017
1:48pm
Old Geezer you are so RIGHT.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
10:02pm
Before anyone goes into aged care, usually because they are unable to attend to their daily "activities" , then they should be given a choice. A pill or an institution. I would choose the first option.
Bonny
21st Apr 2017
7:04am
Some people actually want to go into nursing homes especially if the bare lonely social butterflies.
Tom Tank
20th Apr 2017
2:05pm
All this concentration on funding while the "for-profit" facilities are busy reducing costs, largely by reducing staffing levels, in order to boost profits.
To me there is something in-Christian, reference all the professed Christians in the Government, about making a profit from those in need.
Aged care is now a business and is being treated as such by both Government and owners. In most cases staff are caring but are overworked. Proper staffing levels are long overdue but unfortunately since profits will suffer don't hold your breath.
Old Geezer
20th Apr 2017
2:46pm
Profits come first and everything else last.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
11:28pm
Same happened to child care, a total mess. The young and aged should primarily be looked after by family. Governments care not about either child care or aged care, all they give is lip service. I will never go into a prison facility, which aged care homes are, but will do the deed myself if my family are not prepared to look after me. I will change my will once I know who my "loved" ones are.
Bonny
21st Apr 2017
7:02am
Talk to your doctor and a decent doctor will give you a prescription when the time comes.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
3:32pm
Those that have failed to provide for their age care should be placed in a basic facility. Let their families subsidise them not the general public. A user pay system works best.
Rae
21st Apr 2017
7:49am
How do you explain childcare subsidies and tax concessions for super if a user pay system works best?
Grey Voter
20th Apr 2017
7:49pm
I will not allow these politicians spoil my retirement. Simple really......I have stopped thinking about this issue and no longer worry about why our beloved, caring triple fat-cat government keeps trying to make us feel guilty about drawing a pension and then spends BILLIONS ($30B I think) to buy nuclear submarines. If I worry about these obscenities, I will be giving them power over my mind. Now I swim with the current and live for today. I still have enough tins in the pantry to survive two to three weeks. The rest is an illusion.
niemakawa
20th Apr 2017
9:54pm
You are right. Look after yourself first. How does the old saying go "No worries" .
mareela
20th Apr 2017
8:40pm
Trebor the add you saw for an RN for an aged care facility will probably be there for some time as working in aged care is often a last resort for an RN. And why you may ask? Well the main reason is, that RN will be the only senior nurse on duty for anything up to 60 residents. Now tell me how one registered nurse can care for up to 60 residents and sometimes more, particularly on night duty between 10pm and 7 am. The actual care givers that do most of the bedside care are called PSA's and if they're lucky they may earn $21/hour. Some facilities will only pay the minimum wage, around $18/hour. Is it any wonder the job doesn't attract a lot of workers and those who do care for the aged on the most part do the best they can. However it is never enough. Unfortunately, there are never enough staff to care for residents, particularly those chair or bed bound. As I said before, the government needs to legislate patient staff ratios like they do in the public sector in QLD.
Libby
20th Apr 2017
11:19pm
What makes me angry about nursing homes is that we still have to pay for care around $3 or $4 per month non-refundable until unit is sold to pay for Bond. That is refunded when a person dies but why not the former? I think the stupid government should allow payments from pension until home is sold, not all of their savings. My mum had the Home Care package before she was admitted to 24/7 care, and most of the staff are mixed Phillipines, Asians, Maoris etc. I'm not too happy with this place but it's closer to me than the others were. The stupid government past and present still can't get the system right stop cutting back funding in all areas of government departments. Fed up with the FAT CATS! Yes, they should get REAL jobs in nursing homes and be paid half the salary. I hope I go before that time comes!
Culgoa
22nd Apr 2017
2:32pm
There appears to be the widespread assumption particularly in government departments, that everyone now uses a computer. A recent survey of a large health support group of 480 members aged 60 - 80, has revealed that approximately 29% do not use a computer.
Rainey
23rd Apr 2017
12:20pm
Aged care is costly, so let's adjust the pension system to make sure almost nobody can afford it, then we'll start worrying about how to fund care that people could have afforded to pay for if not for pension tampering. This country is run by a mob of short-sighted idiots!
auzie3136
24th Apr 2017
6:15pm
Next they will legislate euthenasia for all older people when tghey reach 60 that is all except thremselves.


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