The Department of Health has turned to large commercial consultancy firms to provide research and analysis that will inform key aspects of the review into aged care reform and government policy.
Deloitte Access Economics has been awarded a $366,700 tender to provide an “analysis of unmet demand and the potential implications of uncapping supply in aged care”.
The issue of unmet demand – how many older people requiring aged care miss out on services due to the current government cap on the supply of places – is a key question facing the review into Living Longer Living Better, which must determine to what extent the reforms have improved access.
But as Australian Ageing Agenda has reported a lack of clear data on the wait for aged care could provide challenging for the review (read that story here).
Researchers and providers have previously been cautioned against using the time lag between assessment for services and entry into aged care as crude measure of unmet demand.
Similarly, the question of uncapping supply of aged care places – which has been recommended by the government-appointed Aged Care Sector Committee – is a long-standing debate among stakeholders.
Consumer groups and provider peak bodies have been calling for modelling to examine the cost of uncapped supply as the government considers moving to a demand-driven system.
Traditionally governments maintain that the cost of unrestricted supply of aged care places would be too great, while many providers and consumer groups argue the current cap limits access to care, stifles innovation and leads to an over-supply of beds and packages in some areas and under-supply in others.
Deloitte has until June 2017 to conduct its analysis.
In late November fellow commercial consultancy firm Ernst & Young was awarded a $583,000 tender by the Department of Health to conduct a “review of residential aged care legislation.”
It is not clear to what extent this work, which must be completed by the end of March, will specifically inform the review.
Elsewhere, advertising agency 303 MullenLowe Australia was awarded a $548,229 tender in mid-November to provide “creative services” for a “My Aged Care campaign”, while last September Matthew Pegg Consulting was awarded a $175,000 tender to “progress work on developing aged care standards”.
These are among the latest in a series of major reviews or consultations that the department has outsourced to private commercial consultancies.
In the past two years professional services firm KPMG undertook:
- the pilot and evaluation of the trial of quality indicators in residential aged care
- a report examining the applicability of CDC in Australian residential aged care
- the formative evaluation of the home care packages program, and
- the review into government-funded dementia services.
Last year the department commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to assess the impact of recent home care changes including CDC and gauge the likely effect of changes arising from the home care changes coming in February 2017 – a key report which the department has not yet released publicly.
In late 2014 consulting firm Health Outcomes International was commissioned to audit government-funded workforce programs in aged care, which was released by government in December 2015 shortly before it merged the health and aged care sector workforce funds to save $595 million.
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