The author of the acclaimed 2004 Review of Pricing Arrangements in Residential Aged Care has laid out an urgent policy platform for the new government.
Speaking at the re-launch of Anglicare Sydney’s aged care division as Chesalon Living, Professor Warren Hogan called for an extension of the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) until at least 2011.
Professor Hogan also raised the “overwhelming” need for a comprehensive, long-term review of the Commonwealth Own Purpose Outlays (COPO) provisions.
“The general financial position of aged care entities has been deteriorating over the last year or so,” said Professor Hogan.
“For the most part, this deterioration reflects rising wage costs in the face of a funding arrangement through the Australian Government, which is in very serious need of reconstruction.”
“I might add that in preparing my review, I never found out what COPO meant. I never got to see the formula which I can only presume is locked away somewhere in Canberra.”
Looking at the new Government’s early record, Professor Hogan echoed industry concerns about the “omission” of aged care from the upcoming Australia 2020 Summit agenda, describing it as “inexplicable”.
“An immediate worry with the new Government comes from the failure to address any issues in aged care for the 2020 summit,” he said.
Among Professor Hogan’s urgent recommendations to the new Government, were a voucher system for aged care service users, the removal of the regulated bed-allocation process and a green light for bonds in high care.
“Those with substantial assets may in effect ‘buy’ their way into high care,” he said, “but those lacking substantial wealth…are not able to offer anything to support their service provision.”
“The prohibition of bonds in high care is thus a discrimination against the less well-placed and the marginalised in Australian society.”
This policy was one of the key reasons behind Anglicare Sydney’s decision to diversify its aged care services under the new Chesalon Living banner.
Anglicare Sydney’s CEO Peter Kell said that until recently, his organisation had predominantly provided residential high care services to frail, older people but this alone was no longer viable.
He said that to keep providing aged care services to marginalised, older Australians, Chesalon Living has adopted a ‘Continuum of Care’ model.
It has incorporated community care into its service mix and has plans to provide assisted living and independent living units along with respite services in the near future.
“The lack of political will to allow the bonding of high care beds made care for the frail aged alone untenable,” Mr Kell told Australian Ageing Agenda.
“If we had continued as we were, we would have gone out backwards so we had to decide if we would cease to provide aged care or to continue with a more viable option.”
“In the end, we decided that we wanted to stay in aged care because the system currently provides quite well for those who are well off but not for those are less well off and we wanted to maintain high quality services for them.”
As part of this new direction, Chesalon Living announced at the launch that it has set specific goals to care for older people with disabilities and the adult, disabled children of ageing parents.
It has also targeted the issue of keeping married couples together if they require care.
“We are signalling that we see a very clear future for ourselves in the aged care industry and we want to be a part of the industry approach, partnering with other organisations to advocate for our senior citizens,” said Mr Kell.