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Surplus budget lacks relief for residential providers


The federal budget contains few surprises for the aged care sector with most measures previously announced and already allocated.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a $7.1 billion surplus for 2019-20 last night and that “the budget is back in the black and Australia is back on track” but no new substantial measures to provide relief for the residential aged care sector or ensure a sustainable future.

The budget provides $724.8 million over five years from 2018-19 under last year’s More Choices for a Longer Life initiative, however about half of this funding is for the current financial year and for measures announced in February (read more here).

Aged care peaks say the budget is a missed opportunity to address the urgent issues in the aged care sector (read more here).

New aged care measures include $1.5 million next financial year for preparatory work for the new Serious Incident Response Scheme from July 2022, which the budget papers say require residential care providers to report a broader range of incidents occurring in their facilities.

The government released the report it commissioned from KPMG outlining various options for the scheme last Friday and said it would respond to the proposals shortly (read more here).

The budget also provides $3.4 million over two years from July for the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission to address the use of chemical restraints and antibiotics in aged care facilities and $2.6 million next financial year to implement the Aged Care Workforce Strategy.

Among the measures announced in February are $320 million this financial year for the one-off increase to the residential aged care subsidy, which took effect last month (read more here) and $7.4 million over three years for business advisory services to help aged care providers manage their finances.

Also budgeted from 2018-19 is $4.6 million over two years to trial a new funding tool for residential aged care and $38.4 million over five years for the quality and safety commission to establish of a risk-based compliance and information sharing system.

There is also $8.4 million over five years from 2018-19 to introduce mandatory reporting against current national residential care quality indicators for pressure sores, use of physical restraint and weight loss and future indicators of falls and fractures and medication management.

Residential aged care providers are required to participate in the quality indicators program from 1 July. They will initially need to collect and report on quality indicators for pressure sores, physical restraint and weight loss from this date, with the other indicators expected to be added soon.

The budget also provides funding for 13,500 residential care places and $60 million capital investment for the 2018-19 Aged Care Approvals Round, which was allocated in March (read more here).

Budget at a glance

  • $1.5 million next year to undertake preparatory work for a new Serious Incident Response Scheme from July 2022
  • $2.6 million next year to support the implementation of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy
  • $3.4 million over two years to address chemical restraints and antibiotics in aged care facilities
  • $7.4 million over three years for business advisory services to help aged care providers manage their finances
  • $4.6 million over two years to trial a new residential aged care assessment funding tool
  • $38.4 million over five years to establish a risk-based compliance and information sharing system
  • $8.4 million over five years to introduce mandatory reporting against national residential care quality indicators
  • $185 million from 2019-29 to establish a dementia ageing and aged care mission
  • $18 million for frontline support services for elder abuse, new national hotline
  • retention of the Aged Care Access Incentive (ACAI), which aims to encourage general practitioners to provide services in facilities.

Read also

Stakeholders say budget initiatives only a start 

Budget disappoints home care stakeholders

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One Response to Surplus budget lacks relief for residential providers

  1. Denise Edwards April 3, 2019 at 2:06 pm #

    I just find this unexeptable that the govt can spend so much money on trialling a funding instrument and collecting data. The aged care industry needs to assign this money so that residents needs can be fully met and to ensure there are sufficient and well trained staff who are able to provide compassionate care.The new funding instrument will still require millions of dollars to validate. Surely a simpler system where an amount of money is given directly to the provider on admission and any additional funding would be financed by the resident/and or family dependent on means. This would save millions for the govt and also save time and money for providers which could be transferred to direct care. Aged care will never improve if monies are not allocated to direct care.

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