Peak aged care industry body ACSA has called for almost $700 million to immediately be made available for residential care, ahead of the federal government’s mid year financial outlook.
ACSA says the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, which will be released on Monday, will provide the aged care sector with an indication of the government’s priorities and whether they reflect the areas of need it has been lobbying for.
In a submission to the government, ACSA says there is a critical need for MYEFO to provide the sector with some security at a time of change and uncertainty.
“There is a critical need for a short-term response in MYEFO to provide stability and security while a new residential aged care funding model is examined and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety is underway,” the document says.
It calls for $675 million in “immediate financial relief” to be made available for residential care, and in the long term, for government and industry to agree on a funding strategy including more use of tax dollars and individual contributions from those who can afford it.
ACSA also wants to see action to merge the CHSP and HCP programs and for the removal of financial incentives to remain on the commonwealth support program “which is intended to provide entry level services, not substitute for HCPs”, it says.
ACSA’s MYEFO wish list
- Additional targeted support for regional and remote areas, the homeless and those of low means
- Increase to the rural and remote home care supplement
- Increase to the HCP Dementia Cognition Supplement
- Recommitment to integrating the CHSP and HCP programs
- Increase numbers HCP, especially higher level packages
- Resource a skilled assessment service
- Reduce decision making period for activating a HCP from 56 to 28 days
- Review unspent funds
- Remove cost incentives to remain under the CHSP
‘Opportunity to show commitment’
Leading Age Services Australia said next week’s MYEFO was an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to older Australians and the age services industry.
Funding for residential care had not kept pace with costs and must be a priority, CEO Sean Rooney said.
“MYEFO also offers the Government an opportunity to develop a sustainable funding strategy for home care that considers all the available public and private funding levers,” he said.
“While the Royal Commission is under way we must press on with addressing key industry issues, and not lose sight of making Australia’s aged care system better right now.”