According to an interesting article by Rick Morton in the Australian Newspaper today, Minister Ken Wyatt says he is “personally committed” to introducing a new aged care funding model for aged care facilities if the government is re-elected at the upcoming elections. However, senior bureaucrats at the Department of Health don’t seem so keen on the idea! At the heart of all this is disagreement over whether the ACFI funding model is broken.
High Care the growing problem in new aged care funding model
The main beneficiaries of a new funding model would be residents in need of high care. These are the most at risk and most expensive Aged Care residents. Under the new model, instead of measuring people on the convoluted ACFI Model, costs that are based on level of mobility would be introduced. Furthermore, half of the subsidies would go to help facilities stay operational, totally separate from resident funding. This is designed to keep facilities operating regardless of how many High Care residents they have. Another set of payments would then relate more specifically to how mobile the resident is – seen as an indicator of high/low care needs.
High Care residents on the rise, along with costs
Hight Care residents are on the rise and so is the cost of caring for them. The government hopes that revising the model will help allocate funds more accurately, whilst reducing overall costs. The study was carried out by the Australian Health Services Research Institute, headed by director Cathy Eagar. She claims the research shows for the first time that High Care costs are blowing out.
Dissension in the ranks!
At a meeting of the National Age Care Alliance, Minister Wyatt said that he was really happy with the research around the new aged care funding model. However, right after he spoke, Jaye Smith, The first Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health completely contradicted him! She said, “I don’t want to temper the minister’s enthusiasm but no decision has been made on implementation yet”. Ouch – talk about confusing. Is this going ahead or not?
Providers not consulted?
That begs the question, were providers even consulted?Y You better believe their going to have an opinion about all this! This is a massive change, make no mistake. If the minister and his department can’t agree… what happens if the providers disagree too? Since this basically addresses the livelihood of businesses from single, family run facilities up to publicly listed companies, it would be reasonable to think that they’re going to have something to say about it. Rightly so in fact. After all, all concerned parties should be consulted when such a major changes proposed.
What about the Royal Commission?
Another interesting issue at play here is the fact that the government is promoting this before the royal commission into Aged Care has even published its findings. That report is not due until April 2020. At the moment it looks likely to make recommendations that would cost at least $5 billion. This would come on top of several more billions to reduce waiting lists. Why is the government introducing these suggestions now.