Accommodation price changes are no doubt on the minds of most elderly Australians and aged care providers, especially following the significant changes earlier this year.
A new report from the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner has detailed the number of applications for accommodation payments.
High accommodation payment approval rate
This report found that following the opening of applications from 31 January of this year until 30 June, 446 individual applications were submitted. These were for the approval of prices above the maximum amount pre-determined by the Minister for Social Services.
Of the 446 applications that were actually received by the Minister, 379 were approved in the financial year – with none refused.
However, nine applications were withdrawn, and several more reformed. These statistics reflect an approach taken by Aged Care Pricing Commissioner Kim Cull to work with aged providers across several areas, including:
- Working with aged care providers to facilitate application approvals. Of course, this is only possible in certain situations
- Identifying where applications may not succeed as they’re currently framed
The commissioner also sought to obtain information outside of a formal request, likely to ensure the process was completed as quickly as possible.
Currently, the pricing commissioner has 60 days to make a decision on an application, whether it’s approved or refused. These assessments are being completed and providers notified in half the time, however.
This was largely achieved by a staffing increase in the 2013-14 year, with an additional nine workers brought on to handle application volume. At this stage, it’s likely that staff increases will have to remain permanent to met demand.
Streamlining the applications process is a critical issue, and one that needs to remain a top priority. Key to this will be strong communications between the commissioner and aged care providers.
Such cross-collaboration will become increasingly important in the near future, especially as the number of applications continues to ramp up. Of course, this will be driven primarily by a growing elderly population and subsequently larger facilities.
This study certainly demonstrates the validity of strong financial strategies, and how they will continue to play a key role in the sector over the next few years.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!