Case for ACAR reform builds

Reform of the Aged Care Approvals Round is likely to feature high on the industry’s reform priority list next year, with mounting criticism of the process and claims it is creating over-supply of places in some areas and under-supply in others.

Reform of the Aged Care Approvals Round is likely to feature high on the industry’s reform priority list next year, with mounting criticism of the process and claims it is creating over-supply of places in some areas and under-supply in others.

Analysts and stakeholders have again highlighted the massive demand for places, which this year led to the Department of Social Services increasing the number of residential places on offer by 1,866.

The Federal Government announced the much-anticipated round yesterday morning, which showed the demand for places as:

  • Home care: 108,281 applications for 6,653 places advertised – equating to 17 new places sought for each one available
  • Residential: 19,169 applications for 9,330 places advertised – equating to two new places sought for each one available

ACAR has long been criticised by industry as a cumbersome and inefficient means of allocating places and for its lack of transparency.

Late last year, the Federal Government’s Commission of Audit was told the ACAR process amounted to “a competition in creative writing for which the reward is the allocation of the places often after spending around $12,000 on a consultant to prepare the application.”

In June this year, in an interview with Australian Ageing Agenda, Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield acknowledged that the process “could be streamlined.”

Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) said yesterday it supported reform of the process to deliver greater access and equity in the distribution of places.

“And particularly a far more streamlined process to remove what is currently an arduous task for aged service providers,” its chief executive officer Patrick Reid said.

LASA said that anecdotal evidence suggested that there was over-supply in some regions and under-supply in others. “The process of allocation against demand needs urgent review,” it said.

The peak described the allocations process as creating “winners and losers” within the sector. “For every winner of a place there were 16 losers where demand has been demonstrated and is required to care for older Australians,” it said.

Similarly, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) said the allocation of 6,653 home care places in relation to 108,281 places being applied for indicated the significantly increasing demand for people to remain in their own home and receive care and support services.

ACSA said it would continue to raise the issue of increasing demand with the Federal Government and the department.

Wide variations nationally

Meanwhile, an analysis of yesterday’s results by The Ideal Consultancy has shown wide variations in success rates across the states.

Nationally there was an average success rate for residential places of 58 per cent, the analysis found.

The highest number of residential places was allocated in NSW, closely followed by Victoria.

“South Australia was hotly contested with just 22 per cent of applications obtaining places. Tasmania, ACT and Victoria were on par with the national average; the state with the highest level of success was Western Australia, which is understandable given the chronic dearth of applications for residential places in recent years,” according to The Ideal Consultancy analysis.

In terms of ownership, for-profit organisations were allocated 7,075 residential places and not-for-profits 4,001 places, the analysis found.

“The for-profits dominated the eastern seaboard while not-for-profits were stronger in the ACT, South Australia and Western Australia.

“By far the highest number of places went to Opal with 966 places, Thompson Health Care (466 places), Japara (465), ICL Operations (462), TLC Aged Care (445), Moran (407), Bupa (239) and Regis (159).

“The largest not-for-profit allocations went to St Vincent’s (208), Southern Cross Care WA (211), Catholic Healthcare (134), Baptistcare WA (130) and Catholic Homes (122),” said the analysis by the Ideal Consultancy.

Home care analysis

Nationally 136 approved providers were allocated home care packages including 18 providers that were allocated 100 or more packages, said The Ideal Consultancy. Not-for-profit providers were allocated 85 per cent of new packages.

The largest allocation was to The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (NSW), which received 331 packages in NSW across multiple planning regions, followed by private provider KinCare, which received 303 packages across 6 states.

“Notable allocations include Integrated Living (279 packages), RDNS (269), Southern Cross Care NSW & ACT (216), HammondCare (205), Anglicare (194), ACH Group (181), Australian Unity (162) and Feros Care (162),” said the analysis. 

The 2014 ACAR also increased the number of high care home care packages available. Nationally 58 per cent of packages allocated in 2014 were Level 3 or Level 4 packages.

However, a greater proportion of high care packages were allocated in SA, where 71 per cent of packages were high care and ACT, where 76 per cent of packages were high care, according to The Ideal Consultancy analysis.

READ NEXT: Celebrations and disappointments in ACAR

Tags: ACAR 2014, dss, ideal-consultancy, reform,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *