BlueCare IHACPA Funding Proposal
Queensland’s largest provider of residential and community aged care has recommended sweeping reform of the Australian National Aged Care Classification system, calling for a flexible and individualised model of choice for older Australians, rather than an institutionalised funding model.
BlueCare’s submission to the newly created Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority (IHACPA) highlighted the unnecessarily complex funding system, which made it harder for older Australians to navigate.
UnitingCare Queensland Group Executive for Aged Care & Community Services, Cathy Thomas, said systemic improvements must be made to residential aged care to simplify the funding system and ensure holistic care could be delivered to residents.**
“At their time of need, consumers and their families are often in a situation of enormous stress and expected to make complicated financial decisions involving up to three different Government means-tests, a decision on upfront versus refundable deposits and services that are not easily comparable across providers,” Ms Thomas said.
“That is why BlueCare is advocating for a simple funding system that is transparent, while still providing access to universal care.”
Ms Thomas said that, by simplifying funding into a three-tiered system (Bronze, Silver or Gold), families could clearly compare providers for hotel and accommodation and separate other services.
“Families should have the right to make a choice based on like-for-like accommodation and services that best suit their needs,” she said.
“A single, transparent model would help residents and their families know what accommodation and hotel services they are getting and paying for, as well as the ability to compare multiple providers.
Simplicity would also exist for providers, who would only need to consider two sources of income – Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC) and resident payments.
Ms Thomas said that the AN-ACC care minute requirement should be part of a resident outcome-focused measures such as Quality of Life, Clinical and Mental Health.
“A model based on resident outcomes would be a big step forward and, in the interim, IHACPA should supplement the care minute requirement with other outcome measures,” she said.
“The focus for decision makers should be to make residential aged care choices clear for individuals and their families as they navigate one of the most significant events in their lives.
“At BlueCare we want to be part of the solution and support our residents and their families in our mission - to live life in all its fullness,” she said.
** See diagram 1 below for proposed funding model change
BlueCare is one of Queensland’s largest and most trusted providers of in-home care, residential aged care, disability services and retirement living. For 69 years, BlueCare’s 8 000 people have been committed to recognising individuals while enabling independence, choice and freedom.
UnitingCare is a courageous and creative health and community services provider across Queensland and the Northern Territory. UnitingCare provides aged care, disability supports, health care and crisis response in Queensland through BlueCare, Lifeline, The Wesley Hospital, St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, Buderim Private Hospital and St Stephen’s Hospital. UnitingCare also provides community, aged care, disability and mental health support in the Northern Territory through ARRCS.
Diagram 1: Changing the Aged Care funding model