Tuesday, 08 November 2016 15:19

Consumers, equity and choice at the forefront of aged care funding principles

Australia’s not-for-profit (NFP) peak aged care bodies have today released a document outlining nine funding model principles to the Federal Government as it seeks to develop an alternative to the existing Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) used to assess care needs among residents.

NFP aged care providers deliver about 60 per cent of residential aged care services and 85 per cent of all community aged care services in this country.

Last month, the Department of Health (DoH) announced it had commissioned the University of Wollongong to identify alternatives to ACFI. The University’s work will include a review of international models, as well as methods used in related sectors such as the health and hospital system.

Recent funding changes and court challenges have highlighted the urgent need for a more sustainable, efficient and effective model to fund aged care services, particularly in the face of a rapidly ageing population.

The not-for-profit aged care sector believes that the development of a new funding model must be underpinned by a strong set of principles that reflect the importance of achieving positive outcomes for consumers, enabling equitable access to high quality care and supporting consumer choice and control.

A new funding model should be aimed at maximising health and wellbeing, and support reablement, prevention and restorative approaches to aged care services.

Funding should support all consumers based on their assessed needs, and ensure that all consumer groups, including CALD, LGBTI, indigenous Australians, older people living with disability, people suffering mental ill health or those who may be socially or geographically isolated, have access to appropriate support, care and services as they require them. The model should also be flexible and adaptable across the continuum of care (home care and support through to residential care). It should be efficient, transparent and financially sustainable. It should encourage, not stifle, innovation, investment and growth.

The model should effectively support interaction between the sectors responsible for providing services to older Australians - aged care, primary and allied health and acute care and allow the sector to focus on its core role.

High quality care needs to be seamless, so that older people can move easily between models of care without having their needs compromised.

Finally, the funding model should allow our NFP aged care providers to focus on what they do best, which is providing quality care and services to older Australians.