Deloitte and iCareHealth held their second round-table lunch last month with senior executives from a range of aged care providers. The discussion, led by Tapan Parekh, Deloitte’s National Leader for Senior Living, focused on current developments in the sector. Here we summarise some key themes from the discussion.
Accommodation related changes
Residents entering aged care facilities now have more flexibility and choice about how they pay for their accommodation costs. Due to this change, family members etc are seeking advice from financial planners who are sometimes positioning themselves as “aged care planners.” This is leading to some confusion as often these financial “aged care” planners don’t have the detailed understanding of the sector required to offer such advice.
Family members etc are also asking aged care providers and staff at facilities about the best approach to providing accommodation payments. The group discussed the merit of an approach that involves providing family members with a list of financial planners; however they were conscious of the potential responsibilities from using such an approach.
The Aged Care Pricing Commissioner
The maximum amount that an aged care provider may charge a care recipient without approval from the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner is $550,000 as a Refundable Accommodation Deposit or its equivalent.
Some of the aged care providers attending the lunch had submitted applications for increases to the accommodation price above the thresholds from the Aged Care Pricing Commissioner. There had been no denial of any applications submitted.
One issue guests did raise was the potential planning and financial analysis difficulty aged care providers will experience as residents will have 28 days from entering care as to how they pay the agreed accommodation price.
Changes to the payroll tax supplement from 1 January 2015
From 1 January 2015 the Payroll Tax Supplement paid to some residential aged care providers will no longer be paid. Guests said this change will ‘un-level’ the field between for-profit and not-for-profit providers and for-profits will most likely experience a net negative impact which will need to be recovered from somewhere.
There was no denying that attracting, developing and retaining a workforce that can meet the demands of the sector is paramount. The group collective recognised that there is a need for further investment in the aged care workforce with some providers setting aside a percentage of revenue for training each year. The Aged Care Channel was also mentioned as a tool used by carers to increase their knowledge and meet the full range of needs of those they care for.
With the introduction of Consumer Directed Care (CDC), there was a common view that this will force provides to differentiate and training was highlighted as having the potential to be an important differentiator moving forward.
What are your own views on current developments in aged care?