Post-Royal Commission, what does 2022 hold for residential and home care providers?

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The turmoil of the past two years looks set to continue into the New Year as the Federal Government rolls out its reform agenda and providers face increasing levels of regulation and competition.

In February, the sector’s high hopes for the Royal Commission Final Reports were muted somewhat by the lack of agreement between the two Commissioners on key issues such as funding and oversight.

This sense of ‘opportunity missed’ was magnified by the Government’s response to the Report, which saw the issue of user pays and long-term funding sidelined.

The Fair Work Commission’s work value case brought by the unions was also pushed back to July 2022, delaying a potential increase in workers’ wages.

While the Government and the Department of Health is racing to meet the Royal Commission’s timeline for reform (see story about the Deputy Secretary’s comments), the sector has criticised the pace of change, which follows 10 years of reforms in the wake of ‘Living Longer, Living Better’.

Executive exits are at an all-time high.

2022 to see rollout for reforms

In this light, 2022 will present both opportunities and challenges.

The year is destined to see the introduction of the new Aged Care Act and the new Support at Home program, as well as a system of care finders and star ratings.

The Federal election – widely expected to be held in May – could provide a potential disruption to the reform process.

The fast-rising threat of the new Omicron variant will also ensure that managing the safety of residents and clients will remain a key issue for providers, while the workforce is still at an ‘acute crisis’ point.

At the same time, the newly appointed National Aged Care Advisory Council could help to ensure a greater say for operators in the reform agenda.

The commitment of ACSA and LASA to forming a new single peak body also offers hope for a united voice to advocate to the Government and community.

And for operators with the resources and executive talent to expand, there is the chance to improve market share and revenue.

Read more about the need to recruit executive talent – and find out who our ‘Leaders to Watch in 2022’ are – in the final issue of SATURDAY for 2021, in your inbox at 6am on Saturday, 18 December.