The Aged Care Funding Instrument [ACFI] has failed to secure the future of residential care, according to a poll of just over 100 providers.
The survey was conducted among the customers of clinical software company, iCare, ahead of next year’s release of the official government ACFI review.
“We have a large customer base which gives us access to a lot of people on the floor so we decided to see what kind of feedback we could get from them ahead of the government review,” said iCare’s Managing Director, Chris Gray.
When asked if the new funding tool had ensured the sector’s viability, 72.3 per cent of respondents said no.
Just 3.2 per cent of survey participants felt that the instrument had secured the industry’s future, while 2.1 per cent said it had improved the situation for high care residents but not for low care.
“It is a difficult balance between well funded high care residents and very poorly funded low care residents that attract bonds,” said one respondent.
“To survive financially facilities rely on bonds, however, it is far too easy for a resident to be classified high care.”
On the plus side, the survey found that the ACFI has led to more accurate care information and online ACFI claiming has proved a success.
Over three quarters of providers are now submitting their ACFI claims over the web and 78.1 per cent of participants in the iCare survey said online claiming had improved their access to data for key business and care decisions.
However less than half of the respondents felt that the ACFI had reduced documentation.
“One of the major objectives [of the new instrument] – to reduce the documentation burden – has not [been] achieved,” said one participant.
“Care plans, progress notes, assessments etc [sic] still need to be completed for accreditation.”
Just 38.8 per cent of providers who took part in the survey felt that the new tool had reduced the need for paperwork.
The iCare report said that anecdotal feedback from providers showed that validators are requesting hard copies of all documentation, even when they have been completed using a computer system.
It recommends that validators should be trained in how to use clinical software systems to reduce the paper burden on providers.
“We have identified some of the opportunities, challenges and issues that providers are facing and we are bringing them out in a way that provides the opportunity for dialogue,” said Mr Gray.
“Some of the objectives clearly haven’t been met so here is the opportunity to talk about it.”
He added that iCare would provide the report to the government if it made a request for submissions.