New funding discussions ahead of ACFI decision

The government is to undertake further consultations with the aged care sector before making a decision on the future funding model for residential care, Australian Ageing Agenda has confirmed.

The government is to undertake further consultations with the aged care sector before making a decision on the future funding model for the residential sector, Australian Ageing Agenda has confirmed.

A report into alternatives to the troubled Aged Care Funding Instrument by the University of Wollongong was handed to the Department of Health in early February.

The department has not released the university’s report into ACFI alternatives despite AAA’s repeated requests for it.

However, a spokesperson for the department has confirmed that there will be further consultation on reforming the funding tool “before any decisions are made.”

AAA sought further details from the office of Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt as to the format and timeline for the sector consultation. A spokesperson said: “The exact details of this consultation process are being settled.”

The university was paid $170,321 by the department to produce the report, which included a review of international models of assessing care needs and funding methods used in related sectors such as the health and hospital system.

It is understood that the options canvassed in the university’s review range from modifying the current ACFI to more substantive changes such as adopting hospital-style activity-based funding and the New Zealand approach of care levels.

Pilot this year

The Commonwealth has set aside $2.4 million for a small pilot to be conducted this year to test alternative funding models for residential care funding.

The government has previously said this pilot will “inform changes to the ACFI, including possibly replacing ACFI.”

In addition, the department is considering changing how residents’ care needs are assessed for funding purposes – flagging that this could be done by external agencies rather than by aged care providers.

In a move that frustrated but did not surprise stakeholders, the department decided against undertaking a cost of care study in conjunction with the university’s work on funding alternatives.

Timeline for changes

Departmental bureaucrats have said that while producing a new funding tool was not something that should be rushed they intend to move at a quicker pace than the five years it took to develop ACFI.

Australia’s not-for-profit aged care peak bodies have said the new model should enable equitable access to care, support consumer choice and control and support preventative health.

Senior bureaucrats have said publicly the department wants to “break out” of its unhealthy relationship with providers over the long-running saga (read our story here).

Related AAA coverage: Search for ACFI alternatives is in progress, says department

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Tags: acfi, ACFI altneratives, acfi-review, aged cae funding instrument, Ken Wyatt, Minister for Aged Care, slider, university-of-wollongong,

5 thoughts on “New funding discussions ahead of ACFI decision

  1. I wonder who they will consult with?

    I hope to see the value of nursing care placed back into the ACFI as this is what we do on a daily basis and it’s not hospitality work, it’s professional nursing, and it’s what the clients want most of all.

    Good Luck

  2. How can you possibly have an appropriate model of funding when you refuse to articulate the resources required to deliver care and services to an agreed level and have no idea how much that care will cost to deliver.

    Older Australians deserve better from our elected officials who deliberately refuse to acknowledge the cost of care so they don’t have to fund it – these half baked funding models like RCS and ACFI take staff away from delivering care just to satisfy bureaucrats and have little to do with safeguarding public money like they claim … put all the money that is wasted preparing documents for pen pushing bureaucrats and the validations undertaken to review the documents into direct care and we will be one step closer to having enough money to provide quality care.

  3. This is an industry which is changing constantly, those of us who are long term professionals have learnt to take up new innovations leading to better care for our seniors

    What is unacceptable in every way is the “work to the dollar not the care needs”

    Until there is a truly transparent review, which includes all costs we will never be able to provide complete care without compromise

    If we are to undergo another review [check the records & costs] of previous reviews then please consult fully and with stakeholders of all sizes, not just NFP and large groups

  4. Yes, let’s spend money on endless university research. There is no need. ASK the people on the floor giving the care. It has to be acknowledged that persons entering aged care now are much older, more frail, and therefore needing a higher level of care than currently funded. This situation will only continue with people living longer. I think it’s a disgrace that aged care funding gets ravaged at every opportunity.

  5. Given the high rate of ACFI downgrades in the order of 12% of all claims validated the absurd time and motion nature of the ACFI needs to amended drastically. The ACFI fore fathers were pigs, the ACFI can best be described as a pig with lip stick.
    Most agencies employ in house ACFI co-ordinators and often engage external consultants. With such a high downgrade rate one has to ask is it worth the money – well clearly it is given that the commonwealth only audits about 20,000 claims per annnum a very large number of unjustifiable claims slip through untested. On the other hand any business with a 12% failure rate in business rule compliance would probably question the value of the investment in dedicated staff and consultants.
    The ACFI needs a major over haul to a simplistic model that might see the need for validation removed and specialist ACFI personnel and consultants prior to hitting the consumer with further costs.

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