2015 Aged Care Approvals Round
As noted in the last issue of the newsletter, on 15 August 2015 Minister Fifield announced the opening of the 2015 Aged Care Approvals Round (ACAR). Existing and prospective providers of Australian Government-funded aged care are encouraged to apply. Prospective applicants have 14 calendar days remaining before the application period closes on Friday 25 September 2015. The application forms and guidance materials are available for download from the Department’s website at www.dss.gov.au/2015ACAR. Additional guidance material to assist in the submission of competitive ACAR applications for providing aged care for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is also available from the Department’s website at www.dss.gov.au/CALD with the information on building capacity. If you have any questions regarding the forms, have difficulty in submitting the forms or need any other assistance, support is available by emailing [email protected].
ACFA’s call for submissions on the financial performance of rural and remote providers
On 1 September 2015, the Aged Care Financing Authority (ACFA) released a consultation paper seeking submissions to inform its report to the Government on the factors influencing the financial performance of rural and remote aged care providers. The paper is available on ACFA’s webpage at www.dss.gov.au/ACFA.
Submissions are due by close of business Monday 28 September 2015 to [email protected] or by post to: Director, ACFA Secretariat, Aged Care Policy and Reform Group, Department of Social Services, PO Box 7576, Canberra Business Centre, ACT 2610.
New Short-Term Restorative Care Programme
In the 2015-16 Budget, the Australian Government announced the expansion of flexible care initiatives. A new form of restorative care, the Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) Programme, is being established to increase the care options available to older people and improve their capacity to stay independent and living in their homes. The Department will soon release a STRC Programme Policy Consultation Paper for interested parties to provide feedback. As well as this, the Department invites interested parties to attend a workshop and/or webinar regarding the proposed policy framework. More detail about the STRC Programme and consultation opportunities is available on the Department’s website at www.dss.gov.au/ageing-and-aged-care/programs-services/flexible-care/short-term-restorative-care-programme.
Increasing consumer choice and flexibility in home care from February 2017
In the 2015-16 Budget, the Australian Government announced significant changes to improve the way home care services are delivered to older people and to reduce regulation and red tape for providers. The changes will build on the current consumer directed care approach in home care and will be introduced in too stages. From February 2017, funding for a home care package will follow the consumer, allowing eligible consumers to choose their approved provider, as well as more flexibility to change their provider if they wish. Once the changes come into effect, providers will no longer have to apply for home care places through the ACAR in order to deliver home care, significantly reducing red tape for businesses. From July 2018, the Government intends to integrate the Home Care Packages Programme and the Commonwealth Home Support Programme into a single care at home programme to further simplify the way that services are delivered and funded.
The Department will be consulting with consumers, providers and other stakeholders on the design, implementation and transition arrangements with an initial focus on the February 2017 changes. A publicdiscussion paper is expected to be available in October. A 2015-16 Budget fact sheet is available on the Department’s website at www.dss.gov.au/about-the-department/publications-articles/corporatepublications/budget-and-additional-estimates-statements/increasing-choice-for-older-australians.
2015 Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Industry
On 31 July 2015, ACFA released its third Annual Report on the Funding and Financing of the Aged Care Sector to Government. An electronic copy is now available on ACFA’s webpage at www.dss.gov.au/ACFA. Printed copies of the report will be available from late September 2015 and any queries on this report, including requests for a hard copy, can be directed to [email protected].
Ex-Service Organisation visits to Residential Aged Care Facilities
Residential aged care facilities can support veterans, war widows or widowers by inviting ex-service organisations (ESO) to offer social activities and support to their residents, noting residents’ personal details should not be shared without their consent due to privacy restrictions. The Department encourages residential aged care providers to link with local ESOs and provide their details to residents
who are eligible or interested in receiving veteran specific support for themselves and their families.
Free My Aged Care resource materials available If your organisation is planning to hold a community event, you can order consumer resources to distribute such as the ‘Finding the aged care services that are right for you’ brochure and My Aged Care fridge magnets and postcards. The resources are available to order via National Mailing and Marketing by phoning (02) 6269 1025 or emailing [email protected]. These are also available on www.dss.gov.au/ageing-and-aged-care/aged-care-reform/my-aged-care/my-aged-care-resources.