More than a third of audited residential aged care funding claims were reduced last financial year, but there were both fewer reviews and reductions than the previous year.

The findings are contained in the Federal Government’s 2019-20 Report on the operation of the Aged Care Act, which was released on the 26 November.

There were over 1.3 million aged care recipients in 2019-20 and the Federal Government spent $21.2 billion on aged care, including $13.4 billion on residential aged care, it shows.

At 30 June 2020, there were 2,722 residential aged care services, operated by 845 approved residential aged care providers.

The report shows the Department of Health conducted 4,517 reviews of Aged Care Funding Instrument claims in 2019-20, down from 6,600 reviews in 2018-19 and 10,318 reviews in 2016-17.

Of the reviews, 1,698 (38 per cent) resulted in reductions in funding and 20 reviews (0.4 per cent) led to increased funding compared to 2,854 (43.2 per cent) reductions and 21 (0.3 per cent) increases in funding the year before.

In 2019-20, the health department received 247 requests to reconsider the outcome, and finalised 242 of them in the financial year.

Of those, 141 confirmed the department’s decision (58 per cent), 61 reinstated the provider’s original classification (25 per cent) and 40 resulted in a new decision, which reduced the original classification (17 per cent).

Approved provider applications

Source: 2019-20 Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act

During 2019-20, the health department and the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission received 127 applications to become a new approved provider of aged care and had 79 applications carried over from 2018-19.

Of these applications, 20 were approved, over 70 were not approved, 49 did not proceed, seven are under consideration, and 53 were carried over to 2020-21.

There were fewer applications in 2019-20 than the previous year when the regulators received 244 new applications plus 106 carried over.

Results at a glance

  • 51.9 per cent permanent aged care residents have a diagnosis of dementia
  • 244,363 people received permanent residential aged care
  • 66,873 people received residential respite care and 37,548 of them later entered permanent care
  • 82.5 years is the average age of men at time of admission to permanent residential aged care
  • 84.8 years is the average age of women at the time of admission to permanent residential aged care
  • 5,718 assaults were reported under the Aged Care Act
  • 1,301 unexplained absences of residents were notified
  • 16 sanction notices were issued
  • 5 notices to agree were issued
  • 110 notices of non-compliance were issued.

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