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1 July brings better aged care for older Australians.



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Media Release

The Hon Julie Bishop MP Minister for Ageing

30 June 2004 JB100/04

1 July brings better aged care for older Australians

Older Australians, their families and carers will benefit from the next phase of the Australian Government’s record $2.2 billion aged care funding package to take effect from 1 July 2004.

The Minister for Ageing, Julie Bishop, said the package, Investing in Australia’s Aged Care: More Places, Better Care, which was announced as part of the 2004 Federal Budget, had already delivered more than $513 million to aged care providers in a one-off payment to help improve safety and building standards in aged care homes.

“The next phase of reforms begins on 1 July 2004, with increased subsidies for providers to continue to deliver better care and pay competitive wages to staff, increased funding for capital works to build better aged care homes, and new education and training opportunities for aged care workers,” Ms Bishop said.

“1 July is also the start date for two initiatives to provide older Australians in aged care homes with greater access to doctors. These include a new Medicare rebate for GPs to provide comprehensive medical assessments for residents of aged care homes, and increased funding for doctors to work in partnership with aged care homes to improve access and quality of care for residents.”

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care: More Places, Better Care will deliver :

● an extra $877.8 million, on top of the annually-indexed care subsidy, to help aged care providers

continue to provide quality care and pay competitive wages to staff; ● an extra 27,900 new aged care places over the next three years, including 13,030 in 2004-05;

● almost $1 billion in extra Australian Government funding for aged care providers to build new

homes and upgrade existing ones to meet 2008 building standards, particularly in relation to fire safety; and ● more than $100 million for increased education and training opportunities for aged care nurses

and other staff, including 1600 new undergraduate nursing places at universities.

A total of $5 billion will be provided in subsidies for residential care in 2004-05, an increase of $482 million over 2003-04. This includes funding for the indexation for existing subsidies, plus increases as a result of the new 1.75 per cent conditional adjustment payment, and new increases to the concessional resident supplement. The conditional adjustment payment and increases to the concessional resident supplement have been introduced as part Investing in Australia’s Aged Care: More Places, Better Care.

“Together, these initiatives are helping to deliver the Australian Government’s vision for a world class

system of aged care that provides high quality, affordable and accessible services to meet the individual needs of older Australians,” Ms Bishop said.

The Minister will be working with the aged care sector, including providers, relevant experts and representatives of residents and their families to fully implement a number of the initiatives.

“In contrast to the Australian Government’s $2.2 billion fully-funded Budget package, the Labor Leader did not once mention aged care in his Budget In Reply speech,” Ms Bishop said.

“After eight years in Opposition Labor still has no aged care policy.

Media contact: Rachael Thompson 02 6277 7280 or 0417 265 289

Attachment: List of new aged care initiatives starting 1 July 2004.

ATTACHMENT: Aged Care Initiatives from 1 July

Investing in Australia’s Aged Care: More Places, Better Care

● Conditional Adjustment Payment: a total of $877.8 million over the next four years to enable

aged care providers to continue to deliver high quality care and pay competitive wages to staff.

● Additional Funds to Build Better Aged Care Homes: The Australian Government is assisting

with capital requirements by boosting the funds available to aged care providers by a further $438.6 million over four years through increased capital payments for concessional, assisted, transitional and respite residents. The five year limit on contributions by high-care residents who can afford to contribute to the cost of their accommodation will be lifted for residents who enter high care after 1 July.

● An additional 8,000 places over four years are available in the Workplace English Language

and Literacy program to provide extra training and assistance to aged care staff to improve their literacy and language skills.

● Aged Care Assessment Teams will receive an additional $47.9 million over four years to

provide more timely assessments and better case management for older Australians. The requirement for aged care assessment teams to reassess residents moving between low and high care will be removed from 1 July.

● The Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency will receive an extra $36.3 million over

four years to ensure residents of aged care homes continue to receive the high quality care they need and deserve.

For more information visit www.health.gov.au/investinginagedcare/index.htm or phone 1800 500 853.

Strengthening Medicare

● A new Medicare rebate of $150.05 will be available for doctors to undertake comprehensive

medical assessments of residents in aged care homes. This will allow doctors to better assess a resident’s health care needs and provide important information for their care planning and medication management.

● Payments for doctors to work in partnership with aged care homes to improve the overall care of

residents. Residents will be able to have regular access to GPs, including for after-hours care Divisions of General Practice will be supported to establish and manage the GP panels to ensure that doctors will be visiting more often.

For more information visit http://www.health.gov.au/medicare/index.htm or phone 1800 011 163.