The Chair of the Aged Care Legislated Review has recommended getting rid of the Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR) for residential care “as soon as possible” and assigning places directly to consumers in his long-awaited report released last Thursday.
The Review was commissioned by the previous Labor Government under the 2012 Living Longer Living Better package and makes 38 recommendations for the future of aged care including:
- Temporarily allocating unused aged care places to meet the need for more Level 3 and 4 home care packages;
- Abolishing the annual and lifetime caps on income-tested care fees in home care and means-tested care fees in residential care;
- Including the full value of the owner’s home in the means test for residential care when there is no protected person in that home;
- Changing the basic daily fee, with a requirement for providers to charge a minimum fee for low-means residents while still charging a higher fee to non-low means residents;
- Increasing the approval amount for accommodation payments from $550K to $750K, in line with growing house prices and future maximum accommodation payments; and
- Introducing mandatory consumer contributions for services under the Commonwealth Home Support Programme
Mr Tune has also recommended that the Govt review how offline residential places are managed and if needed, introduce changes to maximise their availability to consumers; boosting the number of high-care home care package; and introducing a level 5 package for people with higher care needs.
He also wants the government to maintain the Bond Guarantee Scheme, but reform it to ensure that aged care providers make contributions where the benefits outweigh the costs; and the My Aged Care platform improved to allow better sharing of information between government agencies and providers.
Mr Tune says it is clear that the distribution of services by service type and level is not “well matched to consumer demand”.
“What is certain is that demand will significantly increase with the ageing of the population and it will outstrip supply under the current planning arrangements”, he writes.
However he acknowledges there is “significant work” to do before a consumer-directed model for aged care could be considered, including greater contribution by residents to the costs of their care and better provisions for aged care services where there is less competition such as rural and remote areas.
We think providers would agree.
Read the full report here.