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Changes Relating to Access to Care for Supported Residents

14 Mar 2017

The Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) in conjunction with the Australian Government have released a report providing advice on cost neutral mechanisms to ensure access to care for supported residents. The advice also includes a review and recommendations regarding the efficiency, effectiveness and appropriate level of the:

  • Supported resident ratio for each aged care planning region; and
  • 25 per cent discount applied to the maximum accommodation supplement amount where a service does not provide more than 40 per cent of its eligible care recipient days to supported residents.

The ACFA made 3 key recommendations in its advice.

  1. The 40 per cent rule
    Firstly, the ACFA advised that the 40 per cent rule should remain as it provides an important incentive to providers to accept supported residents ensuring that there is equal access to care for both supported and higher means individuals.
  2. The regional ratio
    Secondly, the ACFA advised that there is not a strong case for the continuation of the regional ratios and that it is an unnecessary piece of regulation that could be repealed with minimal, if any, impact on access to care for supported residents.
  3. Calculation of the supported resident ratio
    Thirdly, the ACFA advised that there should be changes made to the way in which the supported resident ratio is calculated. The proposal would see the supported resident ratio calculated on a month basis to obtain an average ratio. That average ratio would then be used to determine the rate of accommodation supplement that is payable for a month at a time rather than for a day at a time.

The ACFA is of the view that this will:

  • Smooth out daily changes in the rates of accommodation supplement and accommodation contribution payable in services which fluctuate above and below 40 per cent (from day to day); 
  • Reduce the administrative burden on services and impact on residents that can arise; and
  • Assist smaller services that can be more easily impacted by fluctuating residency levels.

What happens now?

The ACFA has said that it will continue to monitor these issues in its regular reports on the sector. The above represents the ACFA’s recommendations to the government only. Any changes as proposed by the ACFA are up to the government to now consider and implement where appropriate. We will be keeping an eye on any developments and updating our subscribers accordingly.

If you would like more information about how these changes might affect your service/business, click here or contact us on +61 7 3193 0500.