New Government needs to come together on Aged Care Roadmap

July 17, 2016

THE current aged care system is propping up some providers who should not survive in the consumer-directed care environment, Council on the Ageing chief Ian Yates has told the National Press Club.

Speaking at a forum on the future of aged care this week, Mr Yates said concerns over changes to aged care funding needed to be investigated.

However he also said some providers were affected by poor governance and management and were not meeting the needs of consumers.

"Yes, there are providers who aren't making money and there are a variety of reasons for this," he said.

He said some providers were taking positive action including cross-subsidising from other areas to maintain high care standards.

However those who did not meet consumer needs should not be in business.

"COTA hopes that recent and future reforms will see these providers disappear.

"We should plan on it, we should expect it, we should hope for it, and we should help good providers take over their packages and aged care beds.

"They shouldn't be in business, and they wouldn't be except the current system actively protects them."

Mr Yates said change was happening, and the February 2017 move to allocate home care package funds direct to the consumer was "a game changer".

However the government now needed to commit to ongoing reform as per the Aged Care Roadmap released in April, which outlined a process for change including the transition to consumer-directed care across residential and home care, and the removal of caps on aged care places.

He said under the current system people continued to face long waits for packages, and could be forced to move into residential care because a shortage of home care packages at their level or in their area meant they were unable to access the level of care they were assessed as needing.

Those who experienced poor quality customer service also had little recourse, and because of the rationing system providers offering poorer quality care continued to thrive.

"The government is on notice, the opposition is on notice and the cross-benchers are on notice," Mr Yates said.

"This is not something that can wait until the next election, it's about stepping out reform over the next weeks, the next months."

Aged and Community Services Australia president Paul Sadler also called for a commitment to proceed with reforms as outlined in the roadmap and move towards a system without aged care rationing.

He said waiting times had increased 30 per cent between 2011 and 2014/15, and the average person now waited about 68 days to access aged care.

Mr Sadler said the budget reforms to the Aged Care Funding Instrument would seriously reduce subsidies for some people with high needs, and a proper analysis of how to better target spending was needed.



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