The opposition has accused the Federal Government of outsourcing its leadership role in assisting the aged care sector to meet its workforce requirements and abandoning a commitment to develop an aged care workforce strategy.
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Mitch Fifield may have moved on from aged care but he has not escaped the sector completely as one peak vows to meet with the minister in his new role to lobby for ICT support on a platform of improving the sector’s productivity.
The appointment of a new minister responsible for aged care comes as the sector eyes the next stage of reforms and awaits the release of several key governmental reviews.
Sector welcomes new minister Christian Porter but says the momentum on reforms cannot be lost and key measures are required to provide certainty for providers and consumers.
Political commentators have tipped Mitch Fifield is in line for a promotion in the ministerial reshuffle on Sunday, while providers and seniors revive the arguments for a minister for ageing.
Mitch Fifield tells providers the government plans to end ACAR in residential aged care, wants a “more sophisticated” definition of quality in aged care, and expects the reform roadmap to be completed by the end of the year.
In a first-of-its-kind outcome, a Queensland aged care provider has succeeded in having the department’s decision to impose sanctions at one of its facilities overturned and expunged from the public record.
All current home care package providers will receive $274 per package to support the transition to CDC while those providers transitioning to the new CHSP will be offered between $12,000 and $20,000.
The Federal Government has shelved plans to introduce a mandatory national fees policy for the new Commonwealth Home Support Program from 1 July and instead will introduce a principles-based fees framework.
Aged care providers, unions, health professionals and consumer advocates have agreed on a new blueprint for further aged care reform that calls for the phased removal of the rationing of places across aged care and the move to individual funding in both community and residential care.
Applications for the 2015 Aged Care Approvals Round for both home care and residential aged care places will open in August and it will be the final round for home care.
Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield has criticised some home care providers for failing to make the transition to consumer directed care early enough, reminding providers they had three years to prepare for the changes and address the loss of the ability to cross subsidise clients.
Mitch Fifield has confirmed the decision to cut 15 per cent from the Aged Care Workforce Fund in last week’s budget was made independently of the government’s current stocktake of workforce initiatives and was a cost savings measure.
Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield says there will be “robust requirements” for organisations seeking to provide aged care accreditation services, but experts warn that having multiple assessment agencies can challenge consistency of standards.