The Commonwealth Government will respond to the recommendations of two major aged care reviews in next year’s Federal Budget, this week’s mini-budget shows.
The annual Federal Budget is usually presented by the Treasurer on the second Tuesday in May.
The government released the David Tune-led Aged Care Legislated Review 2017 and Kate Carnell and Professor Ron Paterson’s Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes in September and October respectively with little response to the reports’ recommendations.
Measures subsequently announced in response to those reports are included in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which was released on Monday, as cost-neutral initiatives aimed at improving the quality, safety and availability of aged care services.
The budget paper shows an additional $1.1 million for this financial year but cuts equalling the same amount over the forward estimates as part of measures to “strengthen aged care”.
The reform measures highlighted in MYEFO include:
- rebalancing the mix of home care packages this financial year and next to reduce waiting times (read our story on that here)
- replacing accreditation visits with unannounced audits for residential aged care facilities (read our story on that here)
- $2.8 million in 2017-18 to develop a detailed business case to improve the aged care gateway and My Aged Care (read our story on that here)
The reforms in these measures respond to recommendations in the Tune Review and Carnell and Paterson Review with costs to be met from existing health department resources, the budget update says.
“The Government will respond to other recommendations of these reviews in the 2018-19 Budget,” it said.
Another cost-neutral measure in MYEFO concerning aged care is for maintenance of the Health and Aged Care Payment Systems.
The Government will provide $16.6 million this financial year for remediation and essential maintenance of the health and aged care payment systems using existing health department resources.
According to this week’s budget update, this measure builds on the 2017-18 Budget announcement for the payment system, which included $67.3 million in 2017–18 to continue the October 2016 initiative to build a new digital payments platform for health and aged care (read that story here).
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