This week came the release of the 2018-2019 budget, and with it a number of key factors for the Aged Care Industry on the changes that are coming. The budget for Aged Care contained a number of recommendations from the Tune Review.
Here, we’ve broken down the different aspects of what the budget means for the Industry, what was welcomed, what key areas were not addressed and what the future holds.
Firstly, let’s look at what areas the budget addressed in Aged Care, and some of the initiatives that have been introduced.
The Government will also consolidate Residential and Home Care funding lines to allow flexibility going forward, starting from 1 July 2018.
While these initiatives have been viewed as much-needed therefore received well, there are some areas that have generated great discussion about their absence from the budget:
- Despite the addition of 14,000 high level Home Care Packages over 4 years, this new allocation does not meet the need for the 56,850 people currently on a waiting list for a high-level Home Care Package.
- The contentious issue of staffing and staffing ratios was not addressed in the budget. The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, who are campaigning for staffing ratios to be implemented in Aged Care voiced disappointment that the budget had not addressed a need for ‘safe staffing’ in Aged Care facilities. The Government is currently undertaking a workforce reform review in consultation with the industry.
- The sustainability and growing needs of the industry were not wholly addressed. LASA CEO Sean Rooney states “This Budget does not adequately address the growing complexity of residents’ needs, changing consumer and community expectations, and rising operating costs, which are all placing increasing financial pressure on residential care providers and the overall aged care system.” You can read further on LASA’s response to the budget announcements here.
An indication of reform of the Aged Care system is the $300,000 budgeted for an ‘impact analysis’ to be conducted about creating a system where Aged Care places are allocated direct to consumers, rather than the Providers. A move away from the Aged Care Approvals Round was a recommendation from the Tune Review (page 8).
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