Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2017 Contents New funding model needed
Peaks welcome government changes but say
the saga highlights urgency of developing new
ASSISTANT MINISTER for aged care Ken Wyatt announced in early
December that government would change how it achieved savings of $1.2
billion in aged care funding by adjusting some of the controversial measures
contained in its May budget.
Mr Wyatt said the government was not proceeding with some of the proposed
changes to pain management and physiotherapy ser vices funded in the Aged
Care Funding Instrument.
He also announced a one-year freeze on indexation of all ACFI subsidies
in 2017-18 and a one-year delay in the budget’s 50 per cent freeze on
indexation of the CHC domain until 2018-19.
The announcement followed months of provider backlash over the
changes to ACFI, which aged care providers argued would impact residents
with high care needs.
While there was relief among providers that some of what they perceived
as the more draconian budget measures were being dropped, there was
consensus that the six-month saga highlighted the urgent need for a
sustainable funding model for aged care.
Peak bodies said government and industr y needed to continue to work
together to develop a sustainable funding strategy rather than “tinker at
Meanwhile, the University of Wollongong is working on an alternative
to the troubled ACFI. It was commissioned by government to examine
other models. n
THE REVIEW OF Living Longer
Living Better has receieved
more than 120 submissions
from providers, consumers and
professionals working in the
sector. Analysis of the feedback is
underway and the department said
further consultation may be held
Like most stakeholders, Aged
and Community Services
Australia said reforms brought
including an increase in the
number of home care packages
and greater choice and control for
recipients of aged care.
However, ACSA said other
much-needed reforms including
sustainable funding and expanded
workforce capacity have not been
delivered. It was among several
stakeholders who said there was
no accurate data on unmet
demand and called on government
to publish information annually.
Groups also warned that many
culturally and linguistically diverse
(CALD), Aboriginal and rural
older Australians still didn’t
have adequate access to aged
care ser vices.
Ethnic Communities Council of
NSW (ECC) noted that My Aged
Care was meant to make accessing
aged care services easier but in fact
hindered the process for many.
The introduction of the My
Aged Care call centre resulted in
“a less equitable, less accessible
and less responsive central intake
system” for special needs groups,
ECC was among several groups
calling for bilingual and bicultural
My Aged Care staff who could
appropriately respond to needs of
CALD consumers. n
A new “reportable incidents
barriers to reform
A lack of data around unmet demand for services
is among issues raised with review of reforms.
THE PROPOSED new scheme is among
43 law reform recommendations in a
discussion paper released in December by
the Australian Law Reform Commission
as part of its ongoing inquiry into
Australia’s laws covering elder abuse.
Aged care providers would be
required to report to the Aged Care
Complaints Commissioner, the police
and Department of Health.
The changes would also require
providers to investigate alleged incidents
to identify issues they needed to address.
The commission said there are likely
to be instances where police decide not
to pursue a criminal investigation but
there could be “significant concerns
and risks” arising from the incident that
require action from the provider.
The ALRC also calls for a broader
range of abusive conduct to be covered
under the new scheme that would extend
the definition of reportable incidents
from “unlawful sexual contact” and
“unreasonable use of force” to also
include fraud, neglect and unexplained
physical injur y.
It also proposes removing the current
mandatory reporting exemption for
residents with a pre-diagnosed cognitive
The ALRC highlighted the lack of
information currently recorded around
the alleged perpetrator, action taken and
ultimate outcome and said if its proposals
were implemented “this information
could be used to inform policy and
Among the commission’s other
proposals are sweeping changes to the
laws around powers of investigations
for public advocates and public
guardians, enduring powers of attorney
and enduring guardianship, family
agreements, banking and social security.
The ALRC is calling for feedback on
the proposals ahead of presenting its final
report to government in May 2017. n
8 | JANUARY – FEBRUARY 2017
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