Aged care providers could be left guessing again about the future of the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP) in the 2009-10 budget.
With the CAP review announced in this year’s budget now underway, the Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot is not giving anything away.
“It is a long standing practice to neither confirm nor deny what is, or is not, part of the budget process – and we will continue to follow that practice – in relation to the CAP,” said Mrs Elliot in a statement that echoes her comments in the lead-up to this year’s budget.
The CAP was introduced by the Howard Government in 2004-05 to provide additional medium-term financial assistance to residential aged care providers.
The current review was announced in this year’s Budget by Treasurer Wayne Swan.
It is investigating the extent to which the CAP has been effective in improving efficiencies and the ongoing need for medium-term support.
Sixty-eight submissions have been made to the review from aged care providers, unions, associations, government organisations and members of the public.
The Aged Care Industry Council’s (ACIC) submission says the annual continuation of the CAP indexation is crucial, adding that a similar provision should be introduced for community care providers.
“The limitation of the CAP payment to only residential aged care followed directly from the Terms of Reference of the Hogan Review but, given that the principal cost of providing all forms of care is wages, there is no logical reason to expect that similar cost pressures do not apply with at least equal force in community care,” the submission said.
ACIC also called for a longer term solution to the financial viability issues affecting aged care services.
Accounting firm Grant Thornton simply submitted the summary findings from its 2008 Aged Care Survey.
The report found that the average return on investment for modern, single bedroom facilities was approximately 1.1 per cent.
It called for a review of existing regulatory arrangements and subsidy increases to better reflect the actual costs of care.