For those running aged care facilities or providing services, frequent changes are inevitable. That's why it's important to occasionally step back, and assess exactly what's going on in the sector.
Whether it's changes to means testing, new education opportunities for those in the field or accommodation price adjustments, understanding can make working and running aged care facilities significantly easier. When providers also implement stronger financial strategies using the right tools, the challenges of the sector become less daunting.
Below are four areas of the aged care sector that providers will want to keep an eye on.
Accommodation price changes
According to the Department of Social Services (DSS), providers are permitted to index an accommodation price that has been approved by the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner. However, it's not a requirement that indexation is applied to already approved prices.
This approved amount can be indexed every year, and the indexation may be applied to the approved amount from the second year of approval onwards. As the DSS explained: "A price up to the indexed price can be applied to new residents who have not entered into an accommodation agreement or care prior to the day that the approved amount is indexed."
A focus on education
It's no secret that the future aged care workforce will require appropriate education, whether it's solely training or briefings on new programs. A new set of webinars is currently underway following the 2015 Aged Care Changes briefings, with the first seeing over 8,500 people logging in to view. Another webinar covered key policy and implementation aspects of the Commonwealth Home Support Programme.
ACFI education is another area providers can take a look at, given the benefits of financial optimisation. This helps to ensure facilities have access to a sustainable source of funding, one which can prove essential when running facilities.
eHealth is a game-changer for Australian health care, making it easier for medical and care professionals to access information about their patients instantly. However, the current system is, like most new technologies, constantly evolving.
eHealth is a game-changer for Australian health care.
Late last year, it was announced by government-run website eHealth that the system had been given the capacity to include both pathology and diagnostic imaging reports – another step forward, and certainly a boon for eHealth efforts.
This essentially means that care providers will have access to even more patient data, ensuring they can provide the best possible level of care.
It's certainly necessary, too, as the aged care sector continues to grow.
Means testing adjustments
The Department of Human Services recently announced that a number of improvements had been made to the means-testing letters system, which experienced issues in the past. Now, the department has taken action.
"The department has made significant improvements to our system to resolve the issues that were experienced with means-testing letters and have implemented a number of additional processes to ensure letters are correct," the department explained.
"The number of enquiries now being received in relation to letters has reduced significantly and in many cases these enquiries relate to seeking information or further details."
There's no getting around the simple fact that aged care is a sector subject to constant change, something that's unsurprising when taking a step back. Across Australia and in many areas around the globe, such as Japan and the UK, elderly populations are skyrocketing – and they're not slowing down. Preparation is key, and those in the industry need to keep an eye on changes.
What do you think are the biggest opportunities for success in the aged care industry today? Please contact us and let us know!