You might remember reading and hearing about the Turnbull Government’s changes to aged care earlier this year?
Well, after consulting with the aged care sector and speaking to experts, the government has made some changes to the reforms – and seniors’ groups are celebrating.
So, what are the changes?
The government had planned making big changes to the Complex Health Care section of the Aged Care Funding Instrument – particularly when it comes to pain management and physiotherapy.
Now, those changes have been scrapped.
Instead, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care told a Council on the Ageing Conference earlier this week there would be a one year freeze on indexation of the ACFI and a 50% freeze in the second year.
You might be wondering what all this means for you?
The original changes had many fearing for the quality of service provided to aged care residents who had complex health care needs.
COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the original proposal would have had “unintended consequences” for service providers who focus on residents with “complex health care needs”.
“Today’s adjustments to the policy means that those risks have been addressed while the government proceeds with a process of reviewing the ACFI and the whole assessment process, in consultation with the sector,” he said.
“It takes courage and leadership to admit you didn’t get it right the first time. Today’s announcement shows the Turnbull government has kept an open mind to the concerns of consumer representatives and the welfare of aged care residents.
“This is good news for the increasing number of older Australians who need the support of aged care services, and their families.”
Read more: Minister says aged care must adapt
Why the change of heart from the government?
Well, according to Minister Wyatt, the government listened to the “concerns of providers”.
“The revised package provides more certainty for the sector and will deliver sustainable expenditure growth over the short term while paving the way for longer-term reforms,” he said.
“Both the Government and the sector want a more stable and sustainable funding system and we will be consulting closely with the sector on longer-term reform options.
“Consultation with the sector has been a feature of aged care reform. The sector will continue to play a key role in co-designing reform initiatives aimed at ensuring a sustainable aged care system.”
The minister also announced changes to a supplement that’ll be given to aged care providers in rural and remote parts of Australia.
The viability supplement will see an extra increase, on top of what was already announced.
Yates described it as “an important positive step”.
“The increase in the viability supplement to rural providers is an important positive step as we now make steps down the road of radically overhauling how residential aged care opens up to give people real choice and control,” he said.