Australia’s aged care facilities are experiencing better financial returns than they were 12 months ago, according to the latest benchmarking survey from Stewart Brown Business Solutions (SBBS).

But the majority of facilities are still failing to achieve an operating profit.

On 30 June this year, 38 per cent of the 161 high care facilities participating in the survey were running at an operating profit, compared with just 32 per cent in June 2009.

Of the 271 participating low care facilities, 44 per cent managed to achieve an operating profit, compared with 40 per cent 12 months earlier.

Overall 42 per cent of the facilities involved in the survey made an operating profit.

While the headline results appear promising, the report shows that the gap between the top performing facilities and the survey average is widening.

The top 25 per cent of facilities providing the highest level of care achieved an average net operating profit of $20.60 per bed each day. The survey average for the same group of facilities was a net operating loss of $1.76.

More than two years after the Aged Care Funding Instrument was introduced, most facilities have adjusted.

“More operators are starting to understand the instrument better and are better able to maximise their funding under it,” the report said.

“Those that have not made this leap are performing worse than ever.”

The trend toward rising utilities cost continued throughout 2009-10 with average electricity costs rising by 27 per cent. The average cost of rubbish removal also went up by 21 per cent in the 12 months to 30 June 2010.

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