The net operating results for high care residential facilities have improved slightly again, while low care facilities are continuing to deteriorate.

But according to Stewart Brown’s aged care financial benchmarking survey for the September 2008 quarter, both categories are averaging losses overall.

Only a third of the 100 high care facilities participating in the survey achieved an operating profit, while just 93 of the 184 low care facilities managed to be in the black.

Apart from the top 25 per cent high and low care facilities, only nine homes recorded a net profit.

A possible contributor to the continued improvement in high care returns was a slight, average reduction in the proportion of income being used to pay wages.

For the first time, Stewart Brown’s September 2008 survey compared facilities in urban areas with their regional counterparts.

Not surprisingly, facilities in the city averaged better operating results and higher bond revenues.

High care cities situated within capital cities had an average bond value of $121,485 but for regional high care centres averaged just $113,047.

The average bond value for urban hostels was $169,764 compared to $126,621 for low care homes outside the major metropolitan areas.

In the findings on community care, returns for Community Aged Care Packages (CACPs) declined sharply.

However it is believed that this was because a number of new packages came online during this period and were yet to become fully profitable.

Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) packages were less profitable than in June 2008 but the decline was not dramatic.

In a reflection of rising fuel prices, travel costs for community care providers increased significantly in the September quarter.

But it is expected that these figures will even out in later surveys, reflecting subsequent drops in the cost of petrol.

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