Some 7,000 older Home Care Packages recipients are among those who will benefit from changes to the remoteness classification within the aged care viability supplement, the Federal Government announced in this week’s budget.

Aimed at targeting areas of greatest need more effectively, the government will provide $102.3 million over four years from January 2017 to implement the Modified Monash Model, as recommended in the Aged Care Financing Authority report, Financial Issues Affecting Rural and Remote Providers,

While the supplement was designed to address cost pressures due to isolation and the small size of many rural and remote locations, it currently relies on 1990s’ Census data to classify location, which benefits regions that have since become more metropolitan, while disadvantaging those that have decreased in population in that time.

Around 7,000 home care recipients along with residents of around 250 residential services and in or near outer regional towns will benefit from higher funding.

Further, around 100 multi-purpose services that provide home and/or residential care, plus an additional five National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers, will also attract a higher viability supplement funding under the new arrangements, according to the budget papers.

Boost to gateway

Elsewhere in the budget, aged care’s one-stop shop for consumers has received a boost in funding to help meet the significant and ongoing increase in demand.

My Aged Care will receive $136.6 million over four years from this July to support the operation of its contact centre, which provides consumers information on ageing, aged care and services online and over the phone.

The volume of calls and correspondence managed by the My Aged Care contact centre will hit an estimated 1,280,000 this financial year – up from 110,000 in 2013–14 – and is expected to increase by 41 per cent in 2016–17 and by 90 per cent by 2019–20 on the current estimate, the government said.

The budget measure increases the capacity of My Aged Care to enable more consumers to access information on aged care and services quickly and make informed choices about their care, according to the budget papers.

Sussan Ley HR
Sussan Ley

Minister for Health Aged Care Sussan Ley said the Federal Government would continue to deliver consumer‐centred aged care services, with reforms such as these to improve access and meet growing demand.

“These measures are part of the Turnbull Government’s ongoing commitment to broader aged care reform and support the rollout of the Coalition’s recent law change ensuring an older Australian’s home care package follows them if they change location – putting consumers, not the aged care provider, in charge of their later years,” Ms Ley said.

Full aged care coverage

Australian Ageing Agenda has extensive coverage of the 2016-17 Federal Budget, handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison Tuesday night.

Below are links to AAA’s Budget articles, which provide highlights of the major measures and changes to aged care policies and programs, as well as stakeholder reaction.

Stakeholders outline missed opportunities: Peak bodies have expressed disappointment that reform proposals recommended in the recent Aged Care Roadmap did not feature in the budget, while Alzheimer’s Australia said the budget had overlooked the need for further investment in dementia care.

$1.2 billion cut from ACFI: In order to stabilise continued higher than expected growth in Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) expenditure, the Federal Government has announced it would make changes to the instrument’s scoring matrix to save $1.2 billion over the next four years. Peak bodies have hit back at the cuts, calling them “concerning”.

Windfall for remote providers: The aged care viability supplement’s remoteness classification will be updated and brought into line with other health programs in a bid to target areas of greatest need more effectively.

Boost for My Aged Care: Aged care’s one-stop shop for consumers, My Aged Care, will receive $136.6 million over four years from this July to support the operation of its contact centre, which provides consumers information on ageing, aged care and services online and over the phone.

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