Montefiore welcomes Aged Care Reform Package

April 26, 2012 by Robert Orie
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President of the Montefiore Home, David Freeman AM, has confirmed his support for the broad thrust of the Government’s Aged Care Reform package.

David Freeman

“Our CEO, Robert Orie, and I met with members of the Productivity Commission during the consultation process. I am a little disappointed that the Government wasn’t prepared to adopt more of the market based recommendations in the final PC Report. The package does, however, achieve many of the policy objectives sought by consumers and aged care providers” Mr Freeman said.

He added “My view is that the Government’s role should be strengthened in ensuring care outcomes whilst allowing the market to determine pricing and a range of choice for the consumer.”

Montefiore CEO, Robert Orie, was also optimistic about the package but pointed out that the devil will be in the detail with regard to the practical application of a number of the Government’s planned initiatives. “On face value, the Government appears to have delivered a balanced package which will allow greater choice for the consumer whilst at the same time strengthening means testing to ensure Government funding is directed to those that need it most” Mr Orie said. “In particular, the planned increase in the supply of in-home and residential care places, the additional funding to enhance care for dementia sufferers and the provision of a funding mechanism to support better wage outcomes for the aged care workforce are all positive outcomes of the reform package”, he said.

The commitment by the Government to double the number of home-care packages over the next 5 years and also to broaden the level of services on offer was seen as great initiative by Mr Freeman. “We look forward to expanding the home care services recently introduced to the Home’s suite of services which have been exceptionally well received by the community and which the Government clearly supports with this new package.”

Whilst supporting the Government’s package overall, Mr Orie raised a concern over the Government’s plan to review the funding instrument used to calculate care subsidies paid to aged care providers on behalf of older Australians. “The Government appears to have significantly underestimated the increasing growth in the cost of aged care subsidies”, said Mr Orie. “Over the years we have seen a steady increase in the frailty of residents and therefore their care needs when entering the Home and, as a result, care subsidies have also increased but not sufficiently to meet these needs. Any review of care funding must ensure that subsidies continue to reflect the actual cost of providing basic care and services to our residents and shouldn’t be used to off-set the cost to Government of introducing the reform package”, he said.

According to Mr Freeman, around 200 residents currently accommodated at the Montefiore Home are full pensioners and unable to contribute more than a portion of their aged pension towards their cost of care. “For these residents it is especially important that we continue to receive a Government subsidy that reflects the true cost of their clinical care needs as we are already substantially supporting their accommodation and other expenses” he said.

Robert Orie is the CEO of the Sir Moses Montefiore Home.

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