Queensland alliance calls for fresh approach

An alliance of leading Queensland aged care providers has challenged Justine Elliot on her ACFI assessment.

An alliance of leading Queensland aged care providers, including Tricare, RSL Care and peak body Aged Care Queensland, has expressed concern after the Minister for Ageing released a statement on the success of the new funding instrument.

The press release from Justine Elliot’s office said: “Leading aged care providers are reporting that the Federal Government’s new aged care funding model is delivering better care as well as reducing red tape

But the Queensland alliance said the Minister’s praise for the ACFI (Aged Care Funding Instrument) – introduced just three months ago – was premature.

Mrs Elliot’s were based on the results from less than 15,000 ACFI appraisals, even though Access Economics had previously advised that 20,000 appraisals would be needed before any serious analysis could be carried out.

Alliance spokesperson and Tricare CEO, Jim Toohey said although the results were not yet conclusive, it was clear that the ACFI was not a cure-all.

“The idea that ACFI is going to fix everything is a bit of a red herring,” he said. “The response from providers so far has been quite mixed and it is clearly not a golden solution.”

The Queensland alliance made up of commercial and charitable providers is seeking a fresh approach to aged care funding to address the complex and long-term challenges facing the sector.

“We feel it is time for a real overhaul of aged care funding, by looking at the way we apportion the contributions of the taxpayer and the resident and how we are going to deal with some of the big challenges into future,” said Mr Toohey.

Among those challenges are the prohibitive costs of building new high care places and the inadequate pay for nurses working in aged care.

The alliance has been conducting dialogue with the new Government for about three months and Mr Toohey said there had already been some positive results.

“We have had a great deal of contact up here with some of the newly elected Labor backbenchers which has gone extraordinarily well,” he said.

“They have been out visiting our facilities and we have sat down at lunch with them and given them presentations about some of the major issues.”

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