Can you compare Government-run and ‘private’ aged care? State-run facilities can receive up to 50% more funding

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Last week, the Royal Commission released research that showed Government-run facilities performed better on quality indicators than For Profits and Not For Profits – but is this a fair discussion?

After we questioned some of the data used, we received a number of responses to the story also raising issues with the figures presented in the report.

One person noted that the differences between Government-run homes, Private and Not For Profit were marked as “not all significant” for some of the indicators, for example, abuse, Stage 4 pressure injuries and consultation and communication.

Some of the indicators also sampled a much smaller number of Government-run providers – for example, direct care staffing minutes only include 89 govt facilities compared to 847 not for profits and 638 for profits.

While the Royal Commission says the data has been cleansed to account for discrepancies, it does create a question mark.

Another CEO pointed out that Government-run facilities receive more funding, with some receiving almost 50% more funding than their ‘private’ counterparts.

All of the States and Territories prop up their public sector aged care homes, particularly in Queensland and Victoria where they must meet mandated staffing ratios.

Victorian Government plows almost $100 million into its 150 aged care homes

Case in point: the Victorian Government budget allocation for aged care announced here.

Evidence to the Royal Commission shows that the Victorian Government provides around $97.8 million a year to its 156 aged care homes – $78.3 million of which goes towards funding its staff-to-resident ratios.

That’s around $627,000 per facility – $502,000 on staffing.

Government-run homes also benefit from their close relationships with the State health system, such as being able to transfer sick residents to hospital for longer periods.

There is no doubt that many of the figures in the Royal Commission report are deeply concerning – and show that the quality of care does need to be improved.

But is it fair to compare Government-run homes with For Profits and Not For Profits when they operate on different funding models?

The report does highlight the need for more publicly available data for residents and families to provide better transparency and drive quality standards.

However, the discussion needs to be a fair one.