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Half of Australia’s aged care homes now in the red


The amount of aged care homes operating at a loss has tipped over 50 per cent for the first time, StewartBrown’s latest report on the financial performance of the sector finds.

The latest data from accounting and benchmarking firm StewartBrown released last week shows that 51 per cent of the 984 residential aged care homes surveyed recorded an operating loss (negative earnings before tax) for the quarter ending September 2019.

This is up from 41 per cent of homes for the same period in 2018 and 34 per cent of homes in September 2017, StewartBrown’s September 2019 Aged Care Financial Performance Survey shows.

More than a quarter of homes also recorded a cash loss (negative earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation, amortisation and rent) for the September 2019 quarter (27 per cent), up from 19 per cent of homes for the same period the previous year.

The situation was worse in outer regional, remote and very remote areas where two-thirds of homes reported an operating losses (65 per cent) and almost half made a cash loss (47 per cent) compared to their counterparts in major cities (47 per cent and 22 per cent respectively).

In inner regional areas, 55 per cent of homes reported an operating loss and 31 per cent reported a cash loss.

StewartBrown partner David Sinclair said July to September is historically the best performing quarter from an operating results perspective because subsidy rates are indexed on 1 July.

David Sinclair

However, this year’s results highlight the ongoing deterioration of the sector’s financial performance, he said.

“In the September 2019 quarter, there has been a decline in profitability both in terms of the same period in the previous financial year and also from the results for the 2019 financial year,” Mr Sinclair told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“This continued deterioration in the financial results highlights the strain in which the residential sector finds itself,” Mr Sinclair said.

The report also found that the average occupancy rate was 93.9 per cent for the September 2019 quarter, down from 94.9 per cent the previous year.

It is the first significant decrease in occupancy levels for at least five years, the report said.

Reasons for this decrease include the accelerated increase in home care packages during the 2019 financial year and a loss of confidence in the sector due to the preliminary findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, Mr Sinclair said.

He said the financial viability of aged care will worsen unless additional targeted funding is provided.

“The deterioration of the financial sustainability of the residential aged care sector in all geographic regions continues, and unless additional specific targeted funding is implemented it may lead to the closure of residential aged care homes and will risk further necessary investment into the sector,” he said.

Other residential aged care results

  • $1.69 – the aged care home result (operating profit) per bed day for the survey average, down from $4.37 in 2018
  • $33.41 – the aged care home result (operating profit) per bed day for homes in the top quartile, down from $33.61 in 2018
  • $5,829 – cash profit per bed per year for survey average, down from $7,737 in 2018
  • $17,816 – cash profit per bed per year for facilities in the top quartile, up from $17,810 in 2018

Access the report here.

Related coverage

Additional $320m not enough to improve sector’s bottom line

Listed providers doing ‘better than average’

Financial performance of the sector deteriorating

Sector continues to experience significant financial challenges, survey shows 

Residential occupancy down and wait times up, report shows

Financial performance of sector ‘disappointing’

45 per cent of facilities making a loss

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4 Responses to Half of Australia’s aged care homes now in the red

  1. Anton Hutchinson January 10, 2020 at 1:33 pm #

    To all the providers of residential care running at a loss, like me. You can relax and take a deep breath because our associations (except the Guild) are preparing for another round of talks with the minister!

    Thats the ticket, keep doing the same old things that have failed us year after year… Oh, and continue to ignore alternative suggestions and by all means, dont let the providers at risk influence how we proceed. Wouldnt want to upset the Government buddies would we!

  2. John January 12, 2020 at 11:13 am #

    Maybe this is their unspoken policy goal – have all smaller providers leave the market so only a few larger remain. Fewer providers to regulate.

  3. Robert January 14, 2020 at 1:22 pm #

    The report is not surprising, these numbers will continue to increase, fairly chronic situation, difficult to attract investors into an industry with no profits or minimal profits. The main reason I got out of aged care management and into hospitals. Of course you will still get your whingers that carry on about profits going to management and shareholders and of unaffordable staff ratios. On with the Circus.

  4. Rob January 24, 2020 at 4:40 pm #

    It is defiantly the goal of both sides of Govt to have all smaller providers leave the market so only the larger remain. Fewer providers to regulate more kickbacks to whoever is in power.

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