LASA CEO Sean Rooney’s national briefing tour: 2018 will be “year of action” for aged care

Published on

Last week I attended LASA’s Sydney breakfast briefing tour at First State Super led by CEO Sean Rooney.

Speaking to over 40 board members and senior executives, Mr Rooney said the latest StewartBrown research has finally given the Government its “Houston, we have a problem” moment.

Pointing to declining occupancy, increasing acuity and the 100,000+ national home care queue, the LASA CEO said he has been given every indication there will be an aged care package in the upcoming May 8 Budget.

Conversations with bureaucrats have informed him that there will be a lot of measures providers will like as well as some they won’t. The bigger question for him is: will it be enough?

“We need to have a national conversation and a funding strategy that looks at the funding for the next two decades, not just the next few years,” he said.

“That has to bring into play things like new insurance products, home equity release, tax concessions and increasing the Medicare levy. All of those things need to be on the table.”

Access, quality and workforce were also on the agenda, with Mr Rooney reinforcing the sector is in a state of transformation – and providers need to embrace the change.

“In a world where everything is changing, the biggest risk is standing still.”

Critical to this is attracting workers, Mr Rooney meeting with Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce chairman John Pollaers last week.

Quality also remains a high priority, particularly in light of the latest negative media coverage.

Mr Rooney noted that Nick Ryan of the Australian Aged Care Quality Agency (AACQA) has informed him there has been a change in how they assess serious risk, resulting in more facilities being cited for not meeting standards.

He also mentioned the Government has confirmed all 10 recommendations of the Carnell-Paterson review to be released in the Budget will be implemented, including the introduction of a new Aged Care Quality & Safety Commission.

Mr Rooney did field a few questions about ‘kicking back’ against the media, saying LASA is working to provide “evidence and balance”.

In his words then, a time of change for the sector, but one in which providers can reap the opportunities.

There are three more briefings scheduled for Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Click here for more details.