Care, Dignity and Respect
26th February 2021
The Final Report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety was released on 26th February 2021. The Report has been sub-titled "Care, Dignity and Respect".
The Royal Commission was conducted by the appointed Commissioners Mr. Tony Pagone (QC) and Ms. Lynelle Briggs (AO). Unfortunately the two commissioners have conflicting recommendations on a number of key issues including oversight of the sector and important funding issues.
The Royal Commission into Aged Care (RCAC):
- heard from 641 witnesses, including residents, staff, families and industry experts.
- held almost 100 days of hearings.
- accepted more than 10,500 public submissions.
- produced 38 reports and research papers, including a special report into COVID-19.
The Final Report contains 148 recommendations, and the Commonwealth Government will need to respond to those recommendations with an Action Plan by 31st May 2021.
- Commissioner Tony Pagone recommends the creation of an independent authority to regulate and monitor Australia's aged care system, whereas Commissioner Lynelle Briggs prefers to leave the regulation and monitoring with the current Commonwealth Departments. This is a major difference in viewpoint and presents enormous issues to be resolved.
- Both Commissioners recommend the phasing out of Refundable Accommodation Deposits (from 1/7/2025), but have disagreed as to how the RAD will be replaced.
- Both Commissioners agree that a levy (eg. 1% of taxable income) should be placed on the Australian Tax Payer (similar to how the Medicare Levy works) with the fund to be exclusively directed towards the aged care sector.
- CHSP, Home Care & Residential Care programs will be combined into one by 1/7/2024
- The ACAT & RAS assessments to be combined into the one assessment process by 1/7/2023
- Care should be based on need, not rationing – ie. The uncapping of supply. To this point, by 31/12/2021, the entire home care package wait list to be cleared at the level the person was approved for. From 1/1/2022 the longest someone can wait for their package to be allocated is one month from the date of assessment.
- No later than 1/7/2021, increase to the basic daily care fee by $10 per resident per day.
- From 1/7/2024, the level of funding to remain at home will be the equivalent of what is available at a residential aged care service.
- If an individual is in receipt of an income support payment (eg. age/service pension), the means tested amount is zero.
- The lifetime caps on the means tested contributions should be removed.