The Federal Government’s initiative to assist facilities at risk of failure has created confusion and challenges for aged care providers, says an industry executive.
The $50 million Business Improvement Fund announced by Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck on 31 January aims to support residential aged care providers at risk of service failure (read more here).
It allows providers to apply for short-term grants to improve business operations, support the sale of a facility to another provider, or close the home.
The applications, which opened earlier this month, have caused confusion among aged care providers about eligibility and the different funding options available, says Rob Covino, co-founder of aged care consultancy and technology provider Mirus Australia.
“We’ve been having conversations with executive teams and they’re certainly getting a bit confused with the direction of these grants, eligibility and if they’re aligned to their own unique circumstances,” Mr Covino told Australian Ageing Agenda.
The grant has come when providers are focused on other areas, he said.
“It’s coming at a time where there are so many competing priorities, where the headspace of executives is sometimes scattered as a result of that.
“Information about grants and interpreting that is probably put to the side when they have families and other pressing items to attend to,” Mr Covino said.
When Mirus followed up with providers about the initiative, many said they had not given it much attention, and some were unaware of it, he said.
Mirus is encouraging providers to apply as it is a chance to get assistance from the Federal Government.
“We know that a lot of the reasons why [providers] are not moving forward is because of the budgeting and the ability to draw on resources to pay for business transformation effectively.
“And we’re saying well there is an available grant out there of $48.7 million that the Department of Health has set aside to do exactly that,” Mr Covino said.
He said key information providers should know about the BIF include:
- up to $1.5 million is available per provider
- the actual amount is at the discretion of the aged care minister or delegate
- providers need to supply a copy of independent business advice that provides a financial assessment of the provider
- providers can apply for one stream only even if they operate several facilities
- providers can make applications for several facilities under the one stream
- facilities cannot apply for additional funding after the grant has been awarded
- the maximum period for the fund grant agreement is 24 months ending 30 June 2022.
Applications for the BIF must be submitted by 2:00pm 15 May, or until the funding has been exhausted if that occurs first.
Find out more and apply here.