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Aged Care Blueprint prepares for future care of Baby Boomers.



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MEDIA RELEASE EMBARGOED : 6AM MONDAY 10 NOVEMBER 2008

Catholic Health Australia PO Box 330 DEAKIN WEST ACT 2600 Ph: 02 6260 5980 Fax: 02 6260 5486 Web: www.cha.org.au

CHA is the largest single grouping of non-government health, aged and community care services in Australia.

Aged Care Blueprint prepares for future care of Baby Boomers

Australia’s largest grouping of aged care services have recommended scrapping regulation capping user charges, and creating new safety nets for those unable to afford care in a policy blueprint to reshape aged care options for the Baby Boom generation.

The Aged Care Policy Blueprint is being released today by Catholic Health Australia (CHA), days after the Commonwealth Government opened applications for 37,000 new aged care places over the next three years.

CHA CEO Martin Laverty said “Aged care operators are under pressure. Regulation prevents them from charging a consumer the actual cost of providing care. Yet government funding is insufficient to cover operating and capital costs.

“The maximum Accommodation Charge a service provider can levy an aged care resident is capped by regulation at $26.88 per day. CHA research shows it can cost on conservative calculations around $55.23 per day to provide accommodation.

“The option for Government is to increase its direct funding, or free up regulation that prevents services from charging consumers the real cost of care. Those who can pay should. Those who can’t pay need a safety net. Our Church services provide safety nets.

“With the Commonwealth releasing 37,000 new aged care places over the next three years, there is doubt as to how many will be taken up. Some service providers are just not going to take the risk. Older Australian’s might miss out on the care they need if these doubts are confirmed,” Mr Laverty said.

Catholic aged care providers operate 19,000 aged care beds. This amounts to one in nine of all aged care beds in Australia. The CHA Aged Care Policy Blueprint builds on the experience of Catholic operators to propose options for policy change including:

• Replacement of the current State and Territory Aged Care Assessment Team program with a new Commonwealth managed and funded system; • Removal of limitations on consumer fees, and the publication of a daily bed rental in all residential aged care; • Abolition of the distinction between low and high care, with bonds able to be

levied across all aged care residents who have a capacity to pay; • New safety nets for those unable to meet daily rental fees or bond costs.

“The Baby Boom generation need residential aged care from 2020. We currently don’t have enough beds to service their need. We need to get aged care services in place to meet this demand, and the time for planning is now,” Mr Laverty concluded.

The CHA Aged Care Policy Blueprint is available at www.cha.org.au

Media Contact: Martin Laverty 0409 039665