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ACFI downgrades, sanctions increase


The aged care regulator downgraded more than two in five residential aged care funding claims audited last financial year, the government’s annual aged care report shows.

The Department of Health conducted 6,600 reviews of Aged Care Funding Instrument claims in 2018–19, down from 10,318 reviews in 2016-17.

Of the latest reviews, 2,854 resulted in funding reductions (43.2 per cent) and 21 resulted in a funding increase (0.3 per cent), according to the 2018-19 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act released on Wednesday.

In 2018-19, the department finalised 292 of 314 requests to review the finding.

Of these, 136 reviews confirmed the department’s decision (47 per cent), 89 reinstated the provider’s original classification (30 per cent) and 67 resulted in a new decision reducing the original classification (23 per cent), according to the report.

The number and proportion of claims downgraded has increased compared to the previous year when the department reduced funding in 2,658 claims (25.8 per cent) and increased funding in 70 cases (0.7 per cent).

In 2018-19, there were over 1.3 million aged care recipients and the Federal Government spent $19.9 billion on aged care including $13 billion on residential aged care.

As at 30 June 2019, there were 2,717 residential aged care services, operated by 873 approved providers and 182,705 permanent residents. Just over half of residents had a diagnosis of dementia (51.4 per cent), according to the report.

Non-compliance

Throughout 2018-19, the department issued 55 sanction notices to 36 aged care providers because of failure to meet quality standards, up from 26 sanction notices to 21 aged care providers the previous year, and 11 sanctions in 2016-17.

The department issued 267 non-compliance against aged care providers for failure to meet quality standards (247), prudential matters (14), ACFI matters (5) and compulsory reporting (1) in 2018-19.

The main areas of non-compliance were with health and personal care standards.

New providers

During 2018-19, the department looked at 350 applications to become an approved aged care provider including 244 new applications and 106 carried over from 2017-18.

As shown in the table below, more than 140 applications were rejected, more than 40 were withdrawn and around 60 were approved. Of the remaining, 75 applications were carried over to 2019–20.

Approved provider applications in 2018-19. Source: Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act

Residents, places

There were 242,612 permanent aged care residents throughout 2018-19, which is 889 more than the previous year.

At 30 June 2019, there were 36,905 provisionally allocated residential aged care places, 213,397 operational places, and an occupancy rate of 89.4 per cent through 2018–19.

On average, men were aged 82 and women 85 when they entered aged care. Residents stayed 34.4 months on average.

There were 35 aged care services funded a total of $44.1 million to deliver 1,072 residential or home aged care places under the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program in 2018-19.

Dementia support

The Severe Behaviour Response Teams, which are operated nationally by Dementia Support Australia, provided long-term case management for 795 cases in 2018-19, up 12 per cent from the previous year.

Survey feedback found 98 per cent of clients were satisfied with DSA’s Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service and SBRT services. Approximately 69 per cent of referrals were from major cities and 31 per cent from regional and remote areas, the report shows.

Assault notifications

In 2018–19, the department received 1,514 notifications of unexplained absences of residents.

It also received 5,233 assault notifications, which makes the incidence of reports of suspected or alleged assaults 2.16 per cent.

Most reported assaults involved alleged or suspected unreasonable use of force (4,443) followed by alleged or suspected unlawful sexual contact (739) or both (51).

Fast facts about aged care in 2018-19

  • 17 Regional Assessment Services completed 264,377 assessments across the country
  • 873 approved residential aged care providers, down from 902 in 2017-18
  • 928 approved providers of home care packages, up from 702 in 2017-18
  • 119 approved providers of flexible care, up from 96 in 2017-18
  • 1,458 organisations funded to deliver Commonwealth Home Support Program services, down from 1,520 in 2017-18
  • My Aged Care contact centre answered 1,471,748 calls
  • My Aged Care website had 3,678,272 visits
  • Older Persons Advocacy Network delivered 2,564 education sessions and 16,169 instances of advice.

Access the report here.

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One Response to ACFI downgrades, sanctions increase

  1. Anton Hutchinson December 2, 2019 at 9:55 am #

    There are 2172 residential aged care facilities according to the above statistics and 47% are running at a loss. So that means there are 1020 facilities losing money each day!

    Where do we get the number of 200 facilities in dire financial crisis?

    LASA has again called for providers to make presentations to our local members etc!!!

    How many times are we going to repeat what has failed time and again. The government is simply unwilling to provide adequate funding even though they recognise the need.

    Lots of residential providers dissatisfied with another round of meetings and believe we need to have a national act of civil disobedience and hold back reports etc from the department of health to demonstrate that the industry isn’t prepared to wait stupidly in the wings, I’m one of them.
    Raise it with your association, their conflict of interest should also be up for discussion as well.

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