Aged Care Year In Review 2020

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January

The year begins in a blaze with the bushfire crisis hitting aged care homes and retirement villages – we identify around 91 aged care facilities and villages that are in bushfire-affected areas.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces a $2 billion bushfire recovery fund will take precedent over the expected Budget surplus, leaving little cash for residential and home care in May’s Budget.

The Federal Government reveals plans to merge the Regional Assessment Service (RAS) and Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) into a single “streamlined” service by April 2021 by putting the ACATs up for public tender this year, resulting in widespread backlash against the ‘outsourcing’ of the service to ‘private’ operators.

In a later interview, Minister for Aged Care Senator Richard Colbeck suggests the Aged Care Royal Commissioners support the Government’s plans – prompting an extraordinary statement from Commissioner Tony Pagone QC (pictured right) distancing the Royal Commission from the comments.

The number of aged care homes in the red hits 50% for the first time according to StewartBrown’s latest financial performance survey, with 51% of the 984 aged care homes surveyed notching up an operating loss. Home care sees a mild improvement.

Australian Unity and Infinite Care partner up on an OpCo/PropCo deal for six of Infinite’s southeast Queensland aged care homes – brokered by Aged Care Confidential’s Phil Smith (ex-Colliers) through its $2 billion Healthcare Property Trust.

12,000 older Australians died waiting for home care in 2018-19, according to the latest home care packages data report.

DCM Group’s Director – Industry Engagement, Judy Martin is elected Chair of the Global Ageing Network, which represents retirement living and aged care operators across 50 countries.

Not For Profit aged care and private hospital provider UnitingCare QLD declares a $40 million loss for 2019, and calls for more public funding – only 41% of its revenue comes from Government sources.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney (pictured left) fronts Sky News to call for more funding for the aged care sector as news of increasing outbreaks of coronavirus makes it appear increasingly unlikely that aged care will receive a funding boost in the May Budget.

A new Productivity Commission report shows older Australians are now waiting nearly three years for Level 4 Home Care packages – and five months for residential care.

WA-based private operator Roshana Group acquires the community-run Dryandra Residential Care in regional WA from Baptistcare WA – just over two years since Roshana acquired four other Baptistcare WA facilities.

Meanwhile, Not For Profit Whiddon takes over the community-run Fairview Retirement Village in Moree after a near unanimous vote at its Board’s AGM – Whiddon says it is also exploring ownership transfers with other stand-alone providers.

Also, in NSW, Not For Profit Catholic Healthcare revises its plans for a $31 million aged care facility at Lendlease’s Morpeth retirement village – one of a number being built under their partnership – a year after lodging its original application.

February

The Federal Government announces a $50 million aged care Business Improvement Fund designed to help providers to improve their management and IT systems, transfer ownership or exit the sector.

The 40-bed DP Jones aged care home in Murchison in regional Victoria closes its doors despite the Federal Government promising in 2019 the facility – the town’s largest employer – would stay open (two weeks later, the Government commits $120,000 to find a buyer – on top of the $400,000 it spent on expressions of interest in 2019 – for the home which is in the electorate of Nationals MP Damian Drum).

Not For Profit Baptistcare WA signs a MOU to take over ownership and management of Global Care’s two aged care facilities, two retirement villages and community care services in regional WA.

Employment website SEEK reveals nursing roles in aged care grew 21.9% between 2018 and 2019, with the role in the top 20 jobs advertised for 2019.

Housing Tasmania’s plans to build a $13 million aged care facility in Hobart are delayed five months over Aboriginal heritage issues at the site.

A former aged care worker is charged with assaulting eight residents at an aged care facility at Ashfield in Sydney’s Inner West.

Aged Care Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO (pictured right) wraps up the Royal Commission’s two-day Adelaide workshop on the redesign of the aged care system with a call for the sector’s leaders to get on board with reforms – or prepare to make way for new players.

StewartBrown’s latest survey for rural and remote areas finds 65% of rural, regional and remote aged care facilities made an operating loss in the first quarter of 2019/20.

WA-based Not For Profit Brightwater Care Group gets the tick of approval for a $40 million aged care facility and head office in inner-city Perth.

The Aged Care Royal Commission concludes its final aged care workforce hearing with the Counsel Assisting recommending 24/7 RNs, mandatory minimum staffing levels, ratios and allied health, and a register and Code of Conduct for care workers.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC)’s aged care assessors are found to have the second lowest wellbeing in the public service, returning a wellbeing index of just 55% in a 2019 union survey of public service staff – suggesting reports of ‘aggression’ by assessors are a result of their increased workload.

Regional Victorian Not For Profit Sunbury Community Health closes its 30-bed aged care home northwest of Melbourne Lions Aged Care home after 30 years – citing government funding and lack of resources.

Advisory firm Ansell Strategic says it is seeing mergers and acquisitions increasing – but warns that buyers are being “very cautious and price sensitive” because of the uncertainty around the aged care sector.

The CEO of SA Not for Profit Resthaven, Richard Hearn announces plans to retire after 26 years in the job.

Private aged care provider Japara puts a Geelong site approved for a 122-bed aged care facility on the market for between $4.3 million and $4.5 million – 12 months after the local Council approved their plans for the three-storey facility – it would later sell to a local Not For Profit below expectations in April.

March

Media reports reveal the Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals Leader Michael McCormack (pictured right), personally lobbied the Prime Minister and Aged Care Minister for the $120,000 in Government funding provided in February to keep open the DP Jones aged care home in the Nationals electorate town of Murchison – Labor says two aged care homes which closed on the NSW Central Coast in 2019 were denied similar funding.

Health Minister Greg Hunt backs away from the plans to ‘privatise’ ACAT teams revealed in January, saying the plan to publicly tender for the teams was unlikely to go ahead.

Listed provider Regis Healthcare puts its development pipeline on hold after its half yearly profits slump 50% to $12 million.

Meanwhile, fellow listed provider Estia records a 32% drop in its half yearly profits to $14.3 million and blames “margin compression” for the squeeze.

The Federal Government introduces a Bill to move to paying home care providers in arrears – starting 1 June 2020 – as it looks to reduce the estimated $700 million in unspent home care funds (COVID later sees this plan put on hold until February 2021).

Two residents at Not For Profit BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge in Sydney’s Macquarie Park become the first Australian victims of the coronavirus after a staff member in her 50s testing positive for the COVID-19 virus. The outbreak is the first to highlight the challenges during the pandemic that will face providers, with staff not showing up to work over concerns of infection.

As the risk from the virus increases, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) commences a blitz of 100 aged care homes deemed to be most at risk because of previous infection control issues.

On the Royal Commission front, the Counsel Assisting recommends that the Royal Commissioners’ plan for the separation of care and accommodation in residential care – outlined in a paper in December – not go ahead as Commissioner Tony Pagone QC calls on the sector to “fully engage” with the Royal Commission.

Listed provider Japara’s half yearly profits drop 28% to $5.42 million which it attributes to the Royal Commission and the current financial pressure on the sector.

Private operator Bupa also faces down a $72 million loss for its Australian aged care homes – a huge 541% drop on its 2018 profits – after 15 of its 72 Australian aged care homes were sanctioned by the Department of Health in 2019.

The University of Sydney develops an interactive map (pictured right) of aged care facilities that didn’t meet standards in 2019.

QLD Not For Profit Ozcare opens a 120-bed $30 million aged care facility in Mackay with a retirement village to follow.

Australian Unity creates a joint venture ‘Ramsey Connect’ with private hospital operator Ramsey to deliver hospital-in-the-home services including rehabilitation in the home post joint replacement, palliative care, chronic disease and mental health management programs.

The fights against COVID heats up with the Federal Government pledging $100 million to support the aged care workforce during the pandemic, plus another $445 million to help providers tackle the spread of the virus.

The Government also restricts visits to aged care homes to two people per resident at one time each day, but many providers ban visitors outright as fear over COVID grows.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care suspends its formal hearings and workshops due to the coronavirus until at least the end of May 2020.

Japara CEO and founder Andrew Sudholz steps down from the role after 15 years, citing the need to spend time with a family member with a serious health concern. CFO Chris Price is appointed to take the reins.

Family-run operator Beaumont Care opens its sixth aged care home in southeast QLD after being provided $4 million in Government funding ​to help build the home.

Advisory firm Ansell Strategic warns of the “imminent” collapse of residential aged care homes with $9 billion in RADs at risk over the next nine months – this prediction fails to come true though many providers continue to report losses and closures continue throughout the year.

The National Cabinet expands coronavirus testing criteria to include aged care staff and residents.

Health Minister Greg Hunt (pictured left) also announces up to $1 million funding for the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) to draft in 1,000 retired Registered Nurses to treat coronavirus patients.

The Department of Health introduces a new system for aged care providers to access PPE as it flags shortages – warning that aged care staff do not need to wear PPE unless providing care to suspected coronavirus cases

The Royal Commission extends the deadline for aged care submissions to 30 June 2020.

Coronavirus cases at BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge reach 18 – with a resident at its adjacent retirement village testing positive (the outbreak goes no further after these infections with BaptistCare later held up as the example of how to manage an aged care outbreak).

The Federal Government opens its purse again, announcing $52.9 million in grants over two years for aged care providers to deal with coronavirus outbreaks – but providers must apply retrospectively.

The Government also recognises its new home care payments in arrears arrangements will be badly timed in the current virus situation and puts the scheme on hold.

Separately, the Department of Health suspends face-to-face ACATs and RAS assessments, with CHSP to be provided without an assessment in “urgent” situations.

Royal Commission Chair Tony Pagone QC is again vocal, issuing a statement warning against the “unintended consequences” of restrictions on aged care visits and calling on providers to use staff to provide ‘touch’ during COVID.

April

DCM Group starts publishing The Daily RESOURCE to keep the sector up-to-date on the latest COVID news – it wraps up at the end of December after 180 issues.

In Victoria, Not For Profit mecwacare expands its portfolio of 11 aged care homes with the acquisitions of two aged care homes from a family-owned operator Buehler Aged Care.

Meanwhile, Not For Profit Multicultural Aged Services buys Japara’s Geelong aged care site for $3.6 million.

Anglicare’s Newmarch House (pictured right) in Caddens in Western Sydney goes into lockdown after a Sydney staff member tested positive for coronavirus after working six shifts at the home and another disability service in Leura – the outbreak would quickly spread with 37 residents and 34 staff eventually infected and 19 residents passing away. At the time, the US had 2,600 reported cases in its aged care homes.

Estia submits a proposal for a $28 million five-storey aged care facility in inner Adelaide to replace its existing home.

Former NSW Premier Mike Baird is announced as the new CEO of Not For Profit HammondCare, replacing long-time CEO Dr Stephen Judd after he steps down on August 31 after more than 25 years in the role.

The Federal Government leaves its advice for visitors in residential care at two visitors per day despite the outbreaks at Dorothy Henderson Lodge and Newmarch House – but South Australia and Tasmania both cut off access for the public (both fall into line in late May after the voluntary National Visitor Code is introduced).

Aged care providers report they are the victim of price gouging from PPE suppliers as supplies reach critical shortages, with masks and gowns selling for more than double the price.

Seven aged care peak bodies – now known as the ‘G7’ – push for $1.5 billion in short-term funding to keep the sector afloat in the wake of StewartBrown’s findings that more than half of aged care homes are operating at a loss.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison calls on aged care providers to lift visitor restrictions ​after complaints from families, warning providers would face Government intervention if they did not allow families to see loved ones on a daily basis – aged care providers and peaks reject this call, citing the need to protect residents.

SA Not For Profit Resthaven promotes its own Executive Manager, Darren Birbeck (pictured left) to CEO after Richard Hearn’s retirement.

The CEO of Not For Profit Benetas, Sandra Hills OAM, predicts the number of residential care services and homes will drop within three to four years.

May

Natasha Chadwick sells her 60-bed Bexley aged care home – established under the Synovum brand in 2011 – to WA private operator Hall & Prior to concentrate on her NewDirection dementia village model in QLD, taking them to 12 homes in NSW.

New data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows that aged care providers only have an average of 81 residents each – highlighting the number of small stand-alone operators in the sector.

The latest home care data report reveals a 9.1% increase in the number of older Australians in a Home Care Package to 128,781 at 31 December 2019 – a 38% increase since December 2018.

A new national Visitor Code for aged care facilities during COVID is developed in just 10 days – with $200 million announced in funding for providers to implement it – as the Government looks to resolve the deadlock with providers and peak bodies over visitor access.

The number of COVID cases in aged care and home care stalls for the first time since restrictions began in March with BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge declared free of COVID-19 nine weeks after its first case.

Three months after signing a MOU, Baptistcare WA officially acquires Not For Profit Global Care Group’s two aged care homes, two retirement villages and community care services.

Also, in WA, Not For Profit SwanCare completes its flagship 124-bed aged care home (pictured right) in Perth.

In the US, there are predictions up to 50% of nursing home providers may go out of business in the wake of COVID.

Developer HB+B Property is refused permission to build a $34 million aged care home in Carlingford, northwest of the Sydney CBD, despite revising its plans after they were initially turned down. A local Councillor says parking is a better fit for the site.

Melbourne Not For Profit Jewish Care opens the doors on its nine-storey 156-bed Hannah & Daryl Cohen Family Building aged care home in St Kilda with RADs priced up to $1.5 million.

Several residents test positive for COVID at Victorian aged care homes.

Not For Profit VMCH repurposes a vacant 22-bed aged care home in Melbourne’s Prahran as its first-ever $8.8 million palliative care centre, after the original building was deemed to be no longer fit for purpose.

Not For Profit Catholic Healthcare takes ownership of the stand-alone German Catholic St Hedwig aged care home and retirement village at Blacktown in western Sydney after the community-run provider conducted a strategic review of its services.

Beijing unveils an ambitious plan to increase the number of aged care homes in the city, with at least one district-level public nursing institution to be established in each of its 16 districts by the end of 2022.

June

Japara warns the market it expects its full-year financial results to include a non-cash impairment charge up to $300 million because of COVID.

SA community-run operator Boandik announces it has teamed up with seniors living architects ThomsonAdsett to design its new ‘Big Sky’ 48-bed dementia village in Mt Gambier.

COVID cases in residential care drop again to just six active cases as Anglicare’s Newmarch House outbreak is also declared to be over.

Regis puts the million-dollar Gold Coast beachfront site of its planned eight-storey 147-bed aged care home on the market, despite spending $15 million acquiring the site from former motorcycle world champion Mick Doohan plus two adjacent blocks.

The Victorian Government launches the tender for a 120-bed aged care home in Wantirna, east of Melbourne.

Former PresCare CEO Greg Skelton (pictured right) sues the Queensland Not For Profit for $2.4 million over his dismissal in lost wages and damages after he was stood down in February, two years into a five-and-a-half-year contract – as the new CEO flags that PresCare is likely to sell its “non-core operations”.

In NSW, Catholic Healthcare finally gets the green light for their $31 million co-located aged care home at Lendlease’s Morpeth retirement village.

The ABC’s Four Corners program airs an investigation – titled “What went wrong?” – led by journalist Anne Connolly into Anglicare’s Newmarch House COVID outbreak, alleging that NSW Health said it would hit residents with fines or imprisonment if they tried to leave the facility and had a policy of keeping residents in the home for treatment – unlike the previous outbreak at BaptistCare’s Dorothy Henderson Lodge where 80% of residents were sent to hospital.

The Royal Commission into Aged Care announces it will resume hearings in Melbourne next month ahead of the 12 November deadline for its Final Report with a hearing next month on mental health, oral health and allied health care in aged care.

The Australian reports on speculation that Regis will sell off its real estate assets valued at an estimated $900 million – these rumours again arise in December after takeover bids for the operator.

The Federal Government puts $96.4 million towards helping aged care providers reduce chemical restraints in 2020-21 under its Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement (7CPA) in response to the Royal Commission’s Interim Report released last October.

Tamar Krebs’ (pictured right) innovative dementia model Groups Homes Australia opens its latest home on Sydney’s Upper North Shore at Wahroonga.

The Australian continues to stoke speculation around the listed providers, reporting on speculation Japara will sell and lease back some of its aged care homes to reduce its debt.

The number of active COVID cases in residential care falls to just two.

Not For Profit UnitingSA tops out on its $50 million five-storey aged care and retirement living precinct at Adelaide’s former Football Park site.

The US reaches 54,000 aged care resident and staff deaths.

July

Not For Profit BaptistCare NSW and ACT announces Charles Moore as its new CEO to succeed Ross Low, who retired after 10 years as CEO.

Property manager HomeCo announces it wants to establish an ASX-listed Healthcare & Wellness REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) called HealthCo with aged care as one of its target markets.

Compensation firm Shine Lawyers says it is investigating a potential class action against Anglicare’s Newmarch House over the 19 COVID deaths during its 65-day coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, five new COVID cases in Melbourne are linked to aged care homes – just a week later, 35 services have had residents or staff test positive.

Catholic Healthcare extends its rollout of aged care homes with Lendlease with a 108-bed aged care home announced for Brentwood on the NSW Central Coast, with six more in progress.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (pictured left) announces $325 million for 6,100 new Level 1, 2 and 3 Home Care Packages – as data shows 21,000 older Australians are waiting for a Level 4 package.

Not For Profit Carrington Care joins forces with Richard Crookes Constructions to build 41 luxury assisted living apartments in Camden in southwest Sydney with a full-time concierge on staff.

Melbourne’s aged care outbreaks climb to 59 residential services and 12 home care services.

Not For Profit Glenview Community Services launch its $25 million dementia care village ‘Korongee’ in Hobart with funding from industry super fund HESTA’s Social Impact Investment Trust.

TLC Healthcare completes the purchase of a 2.99-ha property adjacent to its Homewood aged care home in Melbourne’s Hallam for a 60-bed expansion.

DCM Group’s Editor Lauren Broomham (pictured below) appears on the ABC’s The Drum program to discuss aged care staffing and the lessons from the Newmarch House outbreak.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews delivers a stinging rebuke to aged care providers outside of the Government sector, saying he wouldn’t want his mother to be living in ‘private’ aged care as cases linked to aged care grow to almost 800.

August

The Royal Commission returns with a hearing looking at the NSW COVID-19 aged care outbreaks, after announcing in May that they would investigate the impact of the pandemic at the request of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The Counsel Assisting conclude that the Federal Government left aged care providers under-prepared for the pandemic.

Anglicare Southern Queensland opens a nine-bed specialist dementia unit at its 70-bed St Martin’s aged care home in north Brisbane.

Queensland Not For Profit PresCare declares it will withdraw from residential aged care services and offer its facilities for sale following a review of its business.

Private operator Infinite Care gets the green light to build its first 92-bed aged care facility in WA at Mandurah.

Not For Profit VMCH continues to diversify, announcing it is constructing 40 units at Ivanhoe in Melbourne’s northeast for over-55s at risk of homelessness.

Allambie Heights Village Ltd. CEO Ciarán Foley (pictured left) calls out the lack of leadership from Government and health authorities over the COVID advice to aged care providers in the wake of the Royal Commission’s hearings.

Victoria’s aged care outbreaks hit their peak with 2,075 cases among residents, staff and their close contacts.

A report into the largest Not For Profit aged care operators by the union-funded researcher Jason Ward, Principal Analyst at the Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research (CICTAR), makes national headlines after claiming operators are “making big money, but crying poor”.

An audit by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) finds four residents at Jandowae’s Taralga Retirement Village Hostel were given antipsychotic medication without consent – with management reportedly unaware that it was required.

The independent report commissioned by the Federal Government into Anglicare’s Newmarch House COVID outbreaks is finally released, revealing a lack of clarity among government agencies, which created confusion for the Anglicare Board and managers.

The Federal Government announces an additional $170 million will be put into the aged care COVID response with emergency response centres for states and territories to be put up as needed.

Aged Care Minister, Senator Richard Colbeck (pictured below) is grilled by the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19 late, acknowledging the Federal Government could have taken more action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Victorian aged care homes but maintaining aged care was part of its public health response. He later walks out of the Senate while delivering a prepared statement on his aged care portfolio as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Penny Wong, responds.

September

The Senate votes to censure the Aged Care Minister over the Government’s handling of aged care COVID outbreak a week later, with Penny Wong successfully moving the motion which was largely symbolic.

The Royal Commission held a hearing into how to transition to a new home care system with Mable co-founder and CEO Peter Scutt facing down criticism of its online worker platform model and the lack of regulation around such models.

The peak bodies – including Leading Age Services Australia (LASA), Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA), the Aged Care Guild, BaptistCare and Anglicare – are revealed to be working on a PR campaign to lobby politicians – spearheaded by John Howard media adviser turned Apollo Communications CEO, Adam Connolly.

A research paper by economic advisory firm Deloitte Access Economics for the Royal Commission says a 1% lift in income tax will be required to deliver ‘four-star’ aged care – but Prime Minister Scott Morrison rules out an aged care levy to pay for funding increases.

Japara and Regis are removed from the S&P/ASX 300 after their recent write-downs.

Dr Stephen Judd is farewelled as HammondCare’s CEO after 25 years.

The Aged Care Workforce Council says it will partner with ACSA to drive a social change campaign to change the perception of aged care work.

The Royal Commission’s Capital Financing for Residential Aged Care Report identifies that in 2018/19, only $5.3 billion was invested in residential aged care homes despite the sector holding $30.2 billion in RADs, which are generally used to fund new developments.

The Royal Commission holds its funding and financing hearings, with former Prime Minister and Treasurer Paul Keating (pictured left) garnering national attention with his proposal for HECS-style loans to fund aged care services. StewartBrown Senior Partner, Grant Corderoy, also makes the point that the sector needs a reasonable return on investment of between 4 and 5% per annum pre-tax– with 60 to 90 beds the ‘sweet spot’ – as Commissioner Lynelle Briggs AO questions whether aged care providers should be making a profit.

The hearings also reveal that ex-Opal CEO Gary Barnier wrote a report for the Department of Health in February saying that 50 aged care providers were likely to walk away from the sector in 2020 with nearly one-third of operators in immediate of imminent financial stress based on FY18/19 data.

A Sydney aged care worker who allegedly assaulted eight aged care residents pleads guilty (they are later given a seven-month Intensive Correction Order).

Two weeks ahead of the Federal Budget – which had been delayed from May to October – COTA Australia CEO Ian Yates says it’s time for the Government to ‘cough up’ $6 billion a year now to make aged care funding an urgent national priority.

The Chairman of St Basil’s Homes for the Aged (pictured right) in Fawkner, Konstantinos Kontis steps down after 44 COVID deaths are linked to the home.

Meanwhile, the source of Melbourne’s aged care outbreaks is traced to a female security guard working at Rydges on Swanston Hotel, the first formal link between Victoria’s botched hotel quarantine program and the spread of COVID-19 into Victoria’s aged care homes.

The Victorian Aged Care Response Centre (VACRC) announces it will shift its focus to prevention and recovery as the number of active cases in aged care drops to 328.

Australian Unity sees its profits fall 71% on the back of COVID as home care cancellations and PPE costs bite.

WA Not For Profit Capecare prepares to deliver its first integrated aged care home in Dunsborough as residents push for local care options.

October

It is revealed that the Federal Government is still propping up the vacant DP Jones aged care home in regional Victoria – at a cost of $56,000 a month.

The Victorian Government accidentally sends a letter to ‘private’ aged care providers extending extra funding for staffing to them, suggesting the Andrews Government is keen to prevent major outbreaks in its aged care homes.

Another Senate hearing into the Government’s COVID response reveals that 27% of Quality and Safety Commission’s 657 staff are contractors – but this still equates to one staff member for every four homes. The same hearing also outlines that 10,000 older Australians died on the home care waiting list in FY19/20 – with nearly 16,000 waiting for Level 4 package.

Not For Profit Masonic Care WA says it is on track to deliver a $45 million 124-bed aged care facility as part of its $200 million Middle Swan Aged Care Campus northeast of Perth.

The Federal Budget delivers $1.6 billion for 23,000 new Home Care Packages – but little for residential care.

The Federal Government also boosts the aged care Business Improvement Fund by another $35 million.

Colliers’ analysis of the listed players put Regis on top post-COVID thanks to its IT systems, reduced senior management and more efficient buildings.

The first phase of new payments in arrears for home care providers is scheduled to start 1 February 2021, with the second phase from September.

StewartBrown’s Grant Corderoy (pictured left) outlines to LASA’s Ten Days of Congress how home care hours have dropped 30 minutes in the last year – with Level 4 package recipients receiving just 50% of the care hours that they did 10 years ago indicating that care needs are not commensurate with the current funding levels.

Bolton Clarke Chairman Pat McIntosh AM also presents on the Not For Profit aged care, home care and retirement living provider’s plans to double in size by 2025 – just five years away.

Not For Profit Churches of Christ Queensland is criticised by local Mayor over the closure of its 11-bed Inglewood aged care home in regional QLD – but the operator says the facility is no longer financially viable.

Private operator Signature Care slows plans for its Goulburn aged care home after the Council denies the operator relief on $1.8 million in infrastructure fees – despite the town being at 97% occupancy in its existing facilities.

Not For Profit Catholic Healthcare opens a new Memory Support Unit at its Villa Maria aged care home in QLD’s Fortitude Valley and signals its ongoing commitment to consolidation and growing expansion beyond its NSW base.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission (ACQSC) finds two Toowoomba aged care homes had breaches in chemical restraints and infection control.

The Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner, Janet Anderson PSM (pictured right), also tells us that an analysis of prudential information has shown that a proportion of residential care providers are not meeting their RAD refund obligations – and they will be targeting them with a new campaign.

A report by aged care management specialist Pride Living finds 76% of aged care providers sanctioned between January and June 2020 were Not For Profits.

Not For Profit Southern Cross Care QLD threatens to quit the sector if it is forced to provide voluntary euthanasia should Queensland become the third state to introduce legislation to support it.

The Greens leader Adam Bandt addresses the National Press Club, calling for ‘private’ aged care providers to be returned to Government hands as part of a privatisation enquiry.

Catholic Not For Profit Calvary and private health insurer Medibank join forces to deliver SA’s new Hospital at Home program.

The Federal Government announces $12.4 million in grief and trauma support for aged care workers impacted by COVID.

A MOU is signed for a “culturally safe” 72-bed aged care home to be built for Indigenous elders in NSW’s Lake Macquarie region.

The Royal Commission holds its final hearing, with the Counsel Assisting putting forward 124 recommendations for the Commissioners to consider for their Final Report due in February 2021 including an independent Aged Care Commission to oversee the sector (which Commissioner Briggs argues against, favouring a revamped Department of Health model). The Counsel Assisting also propose clearing the 100,000-strong home care wait list by December 2021 – just 14 months away – and a five-year timeline to implement all of the recommendations.

SA MP Rebekha Sharkie (pictured left) moves a new Bill that would require residential care providers to publicly report on their finances – a mirror of a Bill introduced in 2019 by another independent MP Stirling Griff (the Morrison Government says it will oppose the Bill when it is debated later in December).

Not For Profit Southern Cross Care Tasmania acquires Bupa’s South Hobart aged care home, shutting down another home and moving its residents to the Bupa home.

Family-owned health and aged care operator Medical & Aged Care Group also announces the sale of their 16 Medical Practices to fund future residential care acquisitions as it looks to expand from its eight aged care homes across Melbourne and Victoria.

November

Japara declares a $292 million loss at its AGM, revealing its occupancy has dropped to 87.6% and new developments have been put on hold after previously flagging the loss in June.

Regis also flags greater growth for its home care business following the “detrimental” impact of COVID, pledging to invest to expand its home care services “in the nearer term” at its AGM.

Not For Profit Baptcare is fined $20,000 after a resident at its Frankston South aged care home in Victoria is burned by hot coffee.

Aged care consultant Dr Rodney Jilek (pictured right) announces he is investing $1.1 million of his own money in establishing Canberra’s first independent dementia home.

A 10-year retrospective on Government spending by accounting firm Grant Thornton finds aged care funding has flatlined.

Estia records a full year loss after tax of $116.9 million – but sees its employee turnover drop to just 18%.

Aged care providers are warned by the Department of Health to have emergency plans in place for the bushfire season after last year’s horrific season.

Graeme Croft’s Signature Care opens its new 144-bed aged care facility in Langwarrin southeast of Melbourne.

Japara’s share price rises by 60% after former CEO and co-founder, Andrew Sudholz and the director of operator Aurrum Aged Care, David di Pilla – both raise their stake in the operator as the deadline for the Royal Commission’s Final Report approaches.

Estia Chairman Dr Gary Weiss also increases his shares in the listed provider.

Illawarra-based Not For Profit IRT Group slashes its 2020/2021 capital expenditure by 50% after recording a $20 million loss which it blames on the bushfires and COVID.

Aged care beds see their smallest increase in numbers since 2016 – just 3,748 in 2020 – bringing Australia to 217,145 beds according to the latest residential aged care service lists – but aged care consultant James Underwood says this is good news for residential occupancy.

Life expectancy for Australians rises to 82.8 years.

Conglomerate Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Regis co-founder Bryan Dorman make a play for Regis, launching a $555 million takeover bid for the listed provider – bot the board, led by Chairman Graham Hodges (pictured right), reject the bid as “opportunistic” and as under-valuing the company ahead of the expected injection of funding into the sector following the Royal Commission’s Final Report.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews pledges $40 million to fund minimum staff-to-resident ratios in the state’s ‘private’ (For Profit and Not For Profit) aged care homes in the State Budget – but only if the Federal Government also put in funding. The Budget also contains $175 million in funding for the state’s public aged care sector.

The national Visitor Code for aged care homes is updated after complaints that some homes were still restricting visitors, in certain cases, because of a lack of staff to manage screening requirements.

Australian Unity apologises to employees after a payroll review found a number of aged care and home care staff had been underpaid an estimated $4.25 million in wages and entitlements.

A staff member at a Rockhampton aged care facility tests positive for tuberculosis.

December

The 2019-20 Operation of the Aged Care Act report shows approved provider applications dropped by over 40% with just 20 approved this year, while residential occupancy crashes to a “catastrophic” 87.5%.

RSL LifeCare research (table below) says only 1% of Baby Boomers want to enter residential care in its current format – but 67% want a continuum of care.

 

HESTA is announced as an investor in an Australian-first $100 million listed impact investment with Australian Unity.

Private operator Bupa sells more aged care homes with Not For Profit Warrigal acquiring their two Canberra aged care homes.

Private operator Signature Care withdraws its plans for its $30 million Goulburn aged care home after the Council refuses to drop its fee demands – but CEO and founder Graeme Croft (pictured right) says the operator has 16 homes and 2,200 beds in the pipeline.

Another private operator Premier Health Care – launched by aged care veteran Viv Padman – is also kicking goals, with plans for six new aged care homes in SA and QLD – an $80 million investment.

PresCare sells its home care services to Enrich Living Services partner myHomecare Group – but its six aged care homes are still up for sale.

HomeCo raises $125 million for six health and wellness acquisitions through its new Health Wellness & Government REIT.

The Royal Commission releases a new report which recommends standardised software, mandated assistive technologies and a redesign of My Aged Care.

Not For Profit Catholic Health Australia joins Southern Cross Care QLD in lodging a submission against QLD’s Voluntary Assisted Dying laws.

TAFE NSW seeks an industry partner for a new aged care Centre of Excellence to train aged care workers announced in the recent NSW Budget.

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