With the move toward an Aged Care funding system which is purported to provide users with a greater choice, the following article makes for interesting reading.
(Originally published in Australian Aging Agenda by Lisa Belardi)
Provider and consumer peak bodies are urging the Federal Government to increase the flexibility of the home care system to distribute packages based on assessed need rather than by funding level.
In its pre-budget submission, Catholic Health Australia said government control over the number of packages at each of the four levels was contributing to a mismatch between need and supply.
CHA’s chief executive officer Suzanne Greenwood called on the government to end the current inflexibility in the system as a priority in the May budget, which could be achieved within the current funding envelope for home care.
There have been reports of extensive waiting lists for Level 3 or 4 packages in some regions, with older people taking up a lower level package or topping up funds with private services to meet their needs.
Aged and Community Services Australia CEO Pat Sparrow agreed there should be more flexibility now and in the future for government to convert vacant lower level packages to higher level ones where there was demand.
Leading Age Services Australia CEO Sean Rooney said the home care system should be flexible enough to move funding across package levels to meet the assessed needs of consumers.
Ian Yates, the chief executive of COTA Australia, agreed the government should act swiftly to resolve the longstanding issue.
He said it was more important to get the right mix of packages in place “There is no point in having thousands of empty packages or lots of people sitting on packages that are inadequate for them.”
Mr Yates urged the Department of Health to convert large numbers of vacant lower level packages into Level 3 or 4 packages to help meet demand for high-level care in the community.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said the home care packages released through the new national prioritisation system would continue to reflect the current distribution of packages between levels, as determined by the provision ratio. Information about “expected waiting times” for packages through My Aged Care would be published in the second half of the year, the department said.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ?
David Prestney sits on the board of Shine Community Servicesan organisation committed to enabling seniors and other members of the community live full, independent and dignified lives within the comfort of their own homes, as well as being the founding director of CFOCORP an organisation dedicated to helping business owners and management make their businesses prosper, through the provision of highly experienced part-time CFO’s at a fraction of the cost of a full time position.