Aged care receives Covid funding boost

The Federal Government is providing $840 million in additional funding for the Covid-19 Aged Care Support program.

The Federal Government is providing more than $840 million in additional funding to support aged care providers with pandemic-related expenses, including $35 million for ongoing onsite PCR testing in aged care homes.

Set up to support government-funded aged care services – residential and home care – during the pandemic, the Covid-19 Aged Care Support Program provides personal protective equipment, workforce assistance and cost reimbursements.

The $840 million is part of a $1.4-billion package to extend the country’s Covid-19 response measures.

Also included in the package is:

  • more than $115 million for the supply of rapid antigen tests to service providers and care recipients in high-risk settings – including aged care facilities
  • more than $235 million to ensure PPE, RATs, treatments and other supplies from the National Medical Stockpile are provided for aged care, primary care, disability care, First Nations health services and frontline healthcare workers.

Due to expire on 30 September, the above measures will now remain in play until 31 December 2022.

Mark Butler

“This action will provide Australians with effective testing, medical care and treatments to protect themselves and those most vulnerable in the community,” said Minister for Health and Aged Care Mark Butler in a statement.

“These investments will also provide ongoing support and protection for our frontline health and aged care workers, and people living in residential aged care homes, as well as those people supporting the most vulnerable to severe illness from Covid-19.”

In response to Monday’s announcement, Australian & Community Care Providers Association interim CEO Paul Sadler tweeted:

National peak body Catholic Health Australia also welcomed the funding boost.

Jason Kara

CHA director of aged care Jason Kara said the extra $840 million to help cover staff and equipment costs will provide much-needed support to the 550 facilities in the CHA network.

“This additional government funding comes at a vital time given over half of Australia’s aged care homes are currently operating at a loss,” he said.

“Rapid antigen testing and PPE are essential for residents to safely meet loved ones and improve their social connectedness and quality of life,” added Mr Kara. “But anti-Covid measures are expensive and that funding needs to come from somewhere. We’re grateful the government has recognised this.”

Latest statistics

According to government figures, as of 14 September there were 1,654 active Covid-19 cases in 270 active outbreaks in residential aged care facilities across Australia – 1,248 among residents; 406 among staff.

There have been 104 new outbreaks, 40 new resident deaths and 1,580 combined new resident and staff cases since 7 September.

The Federal Government will continue to review its Covid-19 response measures according to expert advice as it develops  a long-term strategy for managing the pandemic, which is now in its third year. 

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Tags: catholic health australia, covid-19, funding, jason kara, mark butler,

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