Plans for a more consistent and flexible aged care system outlined in the National Health and Hospitals Reform Commission’s final repot have been welcomed by older people.

The commission’s report includes plans to remove the aged care approvals round, to bring all aged care programs under Commonwealth control and to introduce streamlined funding and assessment models for all forms of residential and aged care.

The CEO of COTA National, Ian Yates said such a system could provide greater choice for older consumers.

“Hopefully this will lead to a system where a person chooses, to as great degree as possible, the place where they receive care – and then that care is aligned and funded properly,” he said.

Mr Yates also said that bonds in high care should be considered as an option for people who have the means to pay.

“If the choice is being made to move into supported accommodation, our policy is that there should be a number of choices as to how people pay for that and it would certainly suit some people to pay a bond,” he said.

However Mr Yates added that there are some circumstances where bonds would not be appropriate, including when a person is admitted to palliative care or if a person goes into a residential facility for a short-term stay.

The national seniors peak body is confident that these sorts of issues can be resolved together by all aged care stakeholders.

“This report is a platform whereby we could get government providers and consumers around the table to map out what the future system will look like,” said Mr Yates.

“While there are still details to be debated, there is actually a lot of consensus on these issues among many providers and consumer groups.

“We ought to be getting people around the table over the next six months to plan the implementation.”

Mr Yates’ only concern is that even though the report calls for an end to the approvals round, it still proposes a limit on the number of care recipients. He said such quotas are aged care anomalies.

“We say that if people are assessed as needing care, they should be entitled to receive care, so we would prefer to see no quotas at all,” Mr Yates said.

“There aren’t quotas in other parts of the health system. If you turn 65 and meet the pension requirements, you go to Centrelink and you get a pension. They don’t tell you that the ratio of people over 70 for pensions has been reached and then turn you away.”

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