Xenophon calls for Senate inquiry into aged care funding

Independent Senator for South Australia Nick Xenophon will today call for a Senate inquiry into aged care funding, following the government’s controversial changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).

Senator Xenophon has previously stated he would oppose the budget cuts, joining with the Greens in attempting to block the measures.

Last December the government announced it was cutting subsidies on certain claims in the complex health care domain to save $472 million over the forward estimates, and then surprised the sector in the May budget when it announced further changes to the ACFI in the same domain to save an additional $1.2 billion over four years.

Provider peak body Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) said this morning it backed Senator Xenophon’s call for a Senate inquiry into aged care funding.

“The Senator’s support to oppose the measures offers a lifeline to aged care providers, who are extremely concerned about what the cuts will mean for those frail older residents with high needs in their care,” said Melissa Centofanti, chief executive officer of Aged & Community Services SA&NT.

“An examination of aged care funding and a model for sustainable funding would allow the sector the opportunity to have a real long-term plan for stability and growth – both of which are lacking in the current environment – where sudden and unannounced cuts to funding are causing instability in the sector and for those we care for,” said Ms Centofanti.

The announcement by Senator Xenophon was scheduled to be made at AnglicareSA’s All Hallows facility at 11.30am AEST today.

It followed the announcement last week by the Greens that it would oppose the cuts to aged care funding.

“Many providers and aged care residents across the country have raised concerns with me about the impacts cuts through the Aged Care Funding Instrument will have. Changes to the complex health care domain will impact on people suffering from chronic pain, degenerative diseases, severe arthritis and complex wounds,” Greens spokesperson on ageing Senator Rachel Siewert said last Friday.

“The sector has also raised concerns about the lack of consultation and transparency in the cuts the Coalition plans to make to aged care. These concerns highlight the need for a full cost of care study, which the sector has long been calling for.

“Rather than taking a swing at the ACFI, the government should undertake a full cost of care study and a proper review of ACFI rather than these ad hoc changes. This could then inform an ACFI reform process,” she said.

Read more at http://www.australianageingagenda.com.au/2016/06/22/xenophon-calls-senate-inquiry-aged-care-funding/#

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