Mike Woods has urged aged care providers and other sector stakeholders to be “active participants” in the imminent review of Living Longer Living Better.
The former commissioner on the Productivity Commission’s 2011 inquiry into aged care, which led to the Living Longer Living Better reforms, has called on sector stakeholders to identify the key issues they want addressed in the review and to gather data as evidence to support their claims.
Speaking at a forum last week on the impending LLLB review, organised by the Australian Association of Gerontology, Mike Woods said that many inquiries received “well-meaning contributions” based on opinion but not evidence.
“It really helps an inquiry if people can produce data,” said Mr Woods, a professor of economics at the University of Technology, Sydney.
“There’s a lot of industry data out there, so I would encourage you to talk to your organisations, work out if you can de-identify the confidential information and submit that data to the inquiry, because that is really powerful evidence,” he said.
The review is due to commence shortly and expected to take 12 months to report.
It’s understood the government will announce the appointment of the reviewer this week.
The extensive terms of reference for the review, which are set out in the LLLB legislation, include examining the impacts of the reforms on unmet demand, the number and mix of places, equity of access and workforce issues.
However, Professor Woods noted that there was typically some leniency for the reviewer to give particular emphasis to certain areas.
“A very big issue is where the review can add most value,” he said, noting that some issues had been previously debated and analysed but others still required work, and stakeholders could guide the review’s focus.
Tracy Robinson, assistant professor in nursing at the University of Canberra, said that it was unclear whether the latest Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey would be complete in time, which meant the review “may be working with old data” with regards to the workforce question.
She said the one-year timeframe for the review was potentially a concern, given the Productivity Commission inquiry had an extensive process which included an issues paper, call for submissions, draft and then final report.
“There’s no way such a good robust process can occur in this review if the timeframe is 12 months,” she told the forum.
Priorities: uncapped supply, budgets in residential
Ian Yates, chief executive of Council on the Ageing (COTA) Australia, said that the key areas for the review should be examining uncapping supply and moving to individual budgets in residential care.
“Let’s try and get as much information as we can about what would happen if you uncap supply,” he said, noting the uncapping of supply would still occur in an environment where government controlled who provided services.
“The second issue is exploring the pathway to introducing consumer fund holding in residential care, or as the roadmap says, right across the system.
“The third issue is the differential experience of vulnerable groups in terms of access to the system; that’s critical for confidence in the system as a whole,” said Mr Yates.
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