ACSA names cutting red tape as top election priority

The first week of the election campaign has seen ACSA release its election priority list calling for reduced regulatory burden, a move to an entitlement system and an inquiry to investigate options for consumers to contribute to the cost of care.

Week 1 – Federal Election 2013 

By Linda Belardi

Aged and Community Services Australia is the first out of the blocks to release its election campaign priorities for 2013 calling for reduced red tape, a move to an entitlement system as recommended by the Productivity Commission and an independent cost of care study to determine funding. 

Titled ‘Put aged care first’, ACSA’s campaign described Australia’s ageing population as “the major social issue of our time.”

ACSA’s election statement focused on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission which are yet to be taken up as part of the Living Longer, Living Better reforms as well as cost savings that could be achieved through reduced regulatory burden.

The national peak body representing mission-based and not-for-profit providers said that while the supply of aged care places continues to be controlled by government, many people requiring care miss out or have to wait for long periods. To address this, ACSA called for both parties to commit to abolishing the rationing system that is currently in place and to move to an entitlement system for those assessed as in need.

Moving to an entitlement-based aged care system would also go a long way to reducing regulation in the industry, said ACSA. “[An entitlement system] enables providers to utilise market forces that embrace competitive principles as well as consumer demands to determine where resources will be allocated and what a particular market will pay for those services.”

However, the government would still need to fund those without the financial capacity to access services, said ACSA’s election statement.

In the area of workforce, ACSA said there “needs to be a correction in terms of the balance between what an employer may be able to negotiate and agree with its employees and what is prescribed by government in funding contracts.”

Also topping the election wish list was:

  • the introduction of a national network of physical “Seniors Gateway Centres” to enable face-to-face access to care assessment
  • An independent inquiry to investigate options to facilitate consumer contributions to the cost of aged care such as the Aged Care Home Credit Scheme or Age Pensioners Savings Account as recommended by the PC
  • And urgently revising the LLLB financial reforms, particularly the period of choice, price controls and the mandated use of the Maximum Permissible Interest Rate in determining accommodation pricing equivalency between a RAD and a DAP

ACSA said there was also an urgent need to develop new rural, remote and indigenous service models that are sustainable and culturally appropriate. 

A raft of measures to cut red tape were also outlined including streamlining the funding and subsidy process under ACFI and establishing a licence to allow staff police and finance checks to be transportable.

Coalition cements commitment to 5-year ‘provider agreement’

Elsewhere, at the LASA federal and state board dinner on Sunday, the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, confirmed his commitment to a five year Aged Care Provider Agreement in a written message to LASA.

The provider agreement, first announced in the 2010 election, is the cornerstone of the Coalition’s policy on aged care, which it says will address certainty and flexibility in the sector.

In the letter, Mr Abbott said the agreement would be a partnership with industry and would seek to “reduce administrative burdens, provide greater investment certainty and allow easier and more direct input into government decisions.”

While the full detail of the policy proposal is still unclear, the Opposition spokesperson on Ageing, Senator Conchetta Fierravanti-Wells has previously announced that the provider agreement would be introduced within one year of forming government.

The agreement has been likened to the Pharmacy Agreements in place and will be developed with the sector and overseen by a steering committee.

The Coalition has said the agreement will include:

  • a reduction in the complexity of the Aged Care Approvals Round
  • simplified funding arrangements to better reflect the cost of care
  • streamlined reporting requirements, including benchmarking and real time reporting;
  • a more effective indexation mechanism

AAA is currently seeking more detail on the aged care policies of all the major parties and will provide ongoing coverage in the lead up to the September 7 election.

Tags: acsa, election-2013, policy, regulation, tony-abbott,

1 thought on “ACSA names cutting red tape as top election priority

  1. A first step for Senator Fierravanti-Wells and the Coalition in government may be to put a stop to the insanely prescriptive over-reach of the Labor government in acommodation pricing residential aged care. Measuring the window frames for several thousands beds and putting it on the website and marketing collateral. What kind of lunatic in Canberra came up with this stuff? Someone from the same organisation that wants 75,000 new beds over the next decade is the answer. The simple solutions are 1) Publishing of bed prices by way of RAD or DAP 2) Letting the market choose based on price options (which may or may not include a DAP and the quality of information available on the accommodation 3) Retrenching the yet to be appointed Pricing Commissioner 4) Letting providers return more resources to care provision rather than prescriptive form filling.

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