Living Longer. Living Better.
Building a System for the Future
Our plan is to create a flexible and seamless system that provides older Australians with more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of services, where they want it and when they need it. In planning this reform we have taken account of the needs of consumers, the business imperatives of providers and the Government’s commitment to ensure the best possible systems and support for the future.
Aged care reform will be implemented in stages. This will enable consumers and providers to gain early benefits from key changes, while ensuring they have time to adapt and plan ahead for further reform.
There will be a major review after five years when we can assess how the system has changed and adapted, and the ability to make further changes.
Increasingly, the level and mix of services will be driven more by the people using the system and less by Government regulation. The role of Government will be more focused on ensuring fairness of access to aged care services and enhancing the quality. Aged care providers will have new opportunities to extend the services they provide to ensure a more consumer focused approach to business.
A carefully coordinated and structured approach to implementation, as provided for in this plan, will ensure this vision can be achieved within 10 years. Key decision points and reviews are clear and articulated to allow transparent and accountable steps towards the future.
Establishing an Aged Care Reform Implementation Council ($15.2 million)From 1 July 2012, a new Aged Care Reform Implementation Council will drive implementation and further development of aged care reform. It will report to the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing on progress twice a year and evaluate aged care reforms as they are implemented. The Council will work closely with the sector to assist in managing transitions under the reforms. The Council will be chaired by an eminent person and its membership will include industry, consumer and workforce stakeholders, and experts on ageing and aged care.
Aged Care Financing Authority ($26.4 million)The Productivity Commission’s report identified a perceived lack of independence and transparency in aged care governance arrangements. A new Aged Care Financing Authority will provide independent advice on pricing and financing issues and represent taxpayers, aged care providers, consumers and aged care workers. It will consist of a committee of independent experts from industry and consumer groups, as well as government representatives.
The Authority will make recommendations about aged care subsidies and payments. It will also consider and approve higher fees for accommodation and extra services not covered by subsidies.
Building a gateway to aged care services ($198.2 million)The current aged care system can be very difficult for older people, their families and carers to understand. The sources of information available are wide and varied, often difficult to access and understand and do not support informed decision making.
Over time, the gateway will help people to easily access and understand information about options for care and will also help them to assess their care needs and their financial ability to contribute to the cost of that care.
As a start, a new My Aged Care website will be established to provide clear and reliable information. For the first time, people will know where to go to access information. Over time, the website will publish a ratings system of aged care homes so that people can make the most informed choice about their care by comparing services in their area.
A national call centre will also be established to improve the timeliness and consistency of information provided. The My Aged Care website and call centre will be the main entry point into the aged care system and over time will build to provide a comprehensive system of information enabling Australians to find the information they need.
Older Australians with very complex health and aged care needs will be better linked to care and services in the community. This linking service will ensure that people with multiple needs are helped to access services in their local communities. This may include referrals to health, housing, disability services and financial advice as well as aged care services.
Greater transparency in the quality of aged care ($16.6 million)Older Australians and their families need to be able to access better, more transparent information to assist them make fundamental decisions We also need to ensure the quality of services is more transparent.
We will give older Australians greater control and confidence in the quality of aged care services. Relevant and transparent national aged care quality indicators and a rating system will be developed and published on the My Aged Care website. The Aged Care Commissioner will have greater power to ensure the independence of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme process. This will improve consumer and industry confidence in complaints handling.
A new body will be established to accredit and monitor Australia’s residential and Home Care providers. This will be the sole agency providers will deal with in relation to the quality assurance of the aged care services that they deliver. The Australian Aged Care Quality Agency will replace the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency, thus emphasising the focus on monitoring quality.