Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jul-Aug 2015 Contents Fifield said the new program would allow aged care providers to
develop and offer restorative care.
Responding to the key measures outlined by the government,
aged and community care providers told Australian Ageing
Agenda that they would need to adapt their business models
quickly to meet the next round of reform in community care.
They argued that the changes would not automatically mean
less red tape or more choice for consumers, especially in a
rationed system or areas of market failure.
IMPACT ON RURAL AND REMOTE
For rural and regional providers, Fifield had said that "liberating
home care packages" from the ACAR would make it easier.
However, Alyson Jarrett, general manager community care
at The Whiddon Group, said the impact of this change on
these providers should not be any different to the impact on
"In the event that planning ratios remain, supply limits,
particularly for clients requiring high level care in rural
communities, will also continue," Jarrett said.
"In the absence of the ACAR process there needs to be
comprehensive consultation with key stakeholders to ensure
older Australians living in rural and regional areas have equitable
access to the level of care they require."
She said there also needed to be careful planning and
consultation to ensure the process that replaced ACAR did not
result in a different manifestation of red tape.
While welcoming changes that increased the choice and
flexibility of services for older Australians, Jarrett called
for the regulation to be adapted to protect consumers and
measures to educate them on how to identify quality and safety
indicators of providers.
Also highlighting supply restrictions, Richard Hearn, CEO of
Resthaven, said the associated challenges of service rationing
were well-documented in the system.
"With good quality control and processes in place, Resthaven's
general position has been to advocate for deregulation of supply
in home care -- rather than deregulation of suppliers in a rationed
system," Hearn said.
"Increased flexibility and availability of funding to provide home
care packages is preferable to having more providers available to
offer the same number and type of packages," he said.
RESPONDING TO CHANGE
Raising concerns about the timeframe, CEO of WA provider
Amana Living, Ray Glickman, said that moving to a consumer-
led model was both positive and expected, but the speed of this
change turned the current model on its head.
He said it would be problematic for some providers, such as
with staffing, and could lead to a reduction in choice for some
consumers. "Even those who survive the transition will face
ongoing issues as a result of the new approach," Glickman said.
He said not-for-profits and operators in areas of low financial
return offered a commitment to people and values rather than
investment and profit and government should help those providers
remain viable rather than shift to a solely market-driven model.
Big organisations able to move quickly and adapt to change
in their business models over a relatively short time would do
best and those with the most effective business models would
end up with a greater share of the market, Glickman said.
CEO of Benetas Sandra Hills said the sector needed to take
a longer term view in preparation for the changes, and to start
planning immediately. "We must be evaluating the services we
are offering in home care now and make sure we know what
the challenges are on the ground today, not in 12 months' time,"
Providers need to consult with their customers and staff,
and open themselves up to conversations across the sector
and with the department, she said.
"We must work together to understand all the needs and
complexities of our customers, to ensure when February 2017
comes around we know what our customers want and we know
how to support them to meet their goals," said Hills.
The CEO of multi-state provider KinCare, Jason Howie,
said consumers would gain greater choice and flexibility but
it would take time and was dependent on how quickly
organisations could respond to demand.
The investment budgets were stretched thin at present
for many organisations currently overwhelmed with changes to
home care and home support and may therefore be slower to
respond to consumers than they would like, Howie said.
Andrew Mann, general manager of Sue Mann Nursing and
Community Care, said that overall he welcomed the measures
and the certainty they provided around the timetable toward
a market-driven environment. He said this would reward
providers that had marketing strategies, exceptional customer
service and cost-efficient service delivery.
Whilst deregulation will attract new players to the market,
it presented an opportunity for well-positioned providers to
capture additional market share by meeting the unmet demand
of consumers seeking a package that responded to their
individual needs and preferences, he said.
Mann said that would require new business models and
approaches to engaging both clients and care provider staff
as well as education for future consumers to enable them to
make informed decisions about selecting the right provider
for their needs and quality of care and value.
DRIVE UP QUALITY OF SERVICE
Ian Yates, chief executive of Council on the Ageing (COTA),
said that giving funding directly to the person in need of support
will create a more responsive and efficient system.
"It will also drive up the quality of service provision as older
people will be able to shop around for the best provider to
meet their particular needs and will be able to move from one
provider to another if they are not satisfied with the service
being provided," he said.
However, Mr Yates said it was disappointing that older people
will have to wait until 2017 for the changes to kick in and the
reform should happen sooner.
Catholic Health Australia said while the latest measures
were a welcome development in the staging of reform, it
continued to advocate for the removal of service rationing for
all aged care services.
Stopping reform at this point would continue inequitable
access to services where demand exceeds the number of packages
26 | JULY -- AUGUST 2015 | AAA
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