Turnbull Government Listens And Acts On Aged Care Funding

Leading seniors organisation COTA Australia has welcomed the Turnbull government’s changes to the 2016 Federal Budget decision regarding the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and congratulated it for its leadership in listening to the concerns of COTA and the aged care sector.

Speaking today at the COTA Conference on Preparing for Choice and Control in Residential Aged Care, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ken Wyatt announced that instead of significant adjustments to the pain management and physiotherapy components of the Complex Health Care (CHC) domain of the ACFI there will be a one year freeze on indexation of ACFI and in the second year a 50% freeze on indexation of the CHC domain.

COTA Australia Chief Executive Ian Yates AM said the announcement showed the Turnbull government is willing to listen to consumer advocates and sector experts.

“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” Mr Yates said.

“This is good news for the increasing number of older Australians who need the support of aged care services, and their families.

“Elements of the 2016 Budget measures to slow the dramatic above trend growth in ACFI funding would have had unintended consequences for some providers of services heavily focused on serving people with complex health care needs, among our most vulnerable residents.

“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.

“Aged care providers now need to respond to the decision by working in partnership with government in both ACFI claiming behaviours and cooperation with the assessment review. Providers acting in a confrontational way with government will only result in negative outcomes for consumers.”

The Minister has also announced a further increase in the viability supplement directed to rural and remote providers, additional to that already announced in the Budget.

Mr Yates said: “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.”

Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Peter Stahel 0408 584 439

COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.