Analyst predicts 30,000 home care packages in Budget

A leading aged care financial analyst believes the federal budget will include 30,000 new home care packages and has questioned the reported length of the waiting list.

The federal budget will contain funding for 30,000 home care packages, a leading aged care economist predicts.

Grant Corderoy

Grant Corderoy, senior partner at accounting firm StewartBrown, told an industry briefing in Sydney on Tuesday night that as far as aged care funding is concerned next week’s budget will have “more than we’ve seen before but less than we’d probably like to see”.

Part of that will be funding for more home care packages, he said.

“I expect there will probably be 30,000 new home care packages,” Mr Corderoy said.

The government has promised to respond to the recommendations of the aged care royal commission in the May 11 budget, and there’s speculation the sector can anticipate a $10 billion cash splash over the next four years.

Workforce and prudential regulation

If the government takes the royal commission’s recommendations to heart there’s also likely to be money for workforce and prudential regulation in the budget, Mr Corderoy said.

“I think there’ll be money set aside for training and recruitment,” he said. “We can’t kick that can down the road, because the more home care packages that are released the less staff we’ve got to provide the care.”

Mr Corderoy questioned claims the home care waiting list is at 100,000 – a figure that’s refused to budge for three years – saying it could be closer to 50,000.

He said about 26,000 of those in the queue had chosen not to take up their funding and some 30,000 are being funded at a lower than assessed level.

Given the amount of unspent funds being held, it is likely the latter group is actually being funded at the right level, he said.

“I’m a sceptic when it comes to the home care prioritisation queue, I think the actual queue’s around 50,000 -60,000” Mr Corderoy said.

“Why is this important? If we get another 30,000 we can start to divert the attention back to residential care rather than just to home care”

Grant Corderoy at an industry briefing in Sydney on May 4, 2021.

Fixing home care funding

Mr Corderoy said some of the key recommendations of the royal commission were around a new integrated aged care program and a single assessment and financing process.

He said these provided an opportunity to eliminate the big gaps that currently exist between the four levels of HCP.

He said unlike residential care, home care is overfunded at the consumer level, a statement he’s made in the past.

Mr Corderoy suggests that over-funding can be reduced by having fewer big ‘gaps’ between levels, which can result in someone who’s transitioning between levels being funded above their needs.

“Let’s call level four ‘level eight’, and let’s have six levels in between where we don’t have such a big gap,” he said.

Aged care levy in question

While home care packages are likely to be one of the headline budget announcements, it’s unclear whether the government will take up Commissioner Lynelle Briggs’ recommendation for an aged care levy to fund spending.

In the final report, Commissioner Briggs said the government should introduce legislation by July 2022 to establish an “aged care improvement levy” of a flat rate of 1 per cent of taxable personal income, but media reports citing senior government sources have suggested the recommendation will be ignored.

Last year’s budget allocated $1.6 billion for 23,000 new home care packages and Prime Minister Scott Morrison committed an extra $452.2 million in March as a down payment in response to the royal commission report

The government has promised to deliver a five-year-plan for reform in this year’s budget.

Advocacy groups weigh in

In April a coalition of aged care provider groups, the Australian Aged Care Collaboration, called on the government to use the budget to prioritise recommendations that will give seniors the maximum benefit in the quickest amount of time, including stumping up funding to cut the home care waiting list.

Meanwhile on Thursday the National Aged Care Alliance, representing 54 peak organisations of providers, health professionals, unions and consumers,  released a statement calling on the federal government to take immediate action on a list of recommendations.

Clearing the home care waiting list and establishing a new care at home program topped the list, followed by the establishment of an implementation taskforce to deliver the royal commission’s recommendations and drafting a new human-rights based Aged Care Act.

Read the full statement here.

The Grattan Institute estimates that the government needs to spend an additional $9.8 billion a year on the royal commission’s recommended aged care reform measures.

Mr Corderoy warned that the budget will only be a quick fix.

“This is just a budget to fix today’s circumstance we need to have money set aside for reform going forward,” he said.

Comment on the story below. Follow Community Care Review on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up to our newsletter.

Tags: featured, federal-budget, grant-corderoy, home-care-packages, stewartbrown,

2 thoughts on “Analyst predicts 30,000 home care packages in Budget

  1. The only reason for unspent funds in home care, specially CHSP, is because people cannot find the services they need. Try going through “My AGED CARE ” website looking for domestic assistance/ personal care workers/ home maintenance and you get to the situation where providers say “currently not available”. A friend was celebrating today because she was told a “cleaner” was now available. She has waited for 2 years, Maybe if providers employed and trained more people the situation might improve,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *