A total of 10,000 residential aged care places will be made available across Australia in the new approvals round. However these new aged care places will be allocated on a needs basis in states and territories, rather than either as a set number of places in each Aged Care Planning Region (ACPR) or through state-wide pools (or groupings of ACPRs).
“The number of places to be made available in each state and territory will still have regard to the national target provision ratio, population projections for those older Australians aged 70 years and over, and the current level of service provision, including allocated places that have not yet become operational,” the Guidelines state. “Specific targeting of geographic locations (at SA3 level), special needs groups and key issues will also still apply.”
The allocation of new places will seek to achieve a balance in the provision of services between metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas.
The onus is now on the provider to demonstrate what and how community needs will be met.
The new Short-Term Restorative Care STRC Programme increases care options and aims to reverse and/or slow ‘functional decline’ in older people and improve their wellbeing. With a strong focus on care plan co-design, it may be delivered in a home/community setting, a residential care setting, or a combination of both.
Other changes include guidelines for the length of time an allocated place isn’t operational. STRC places unused for more than a six month period will be revoked and returned for reallocation. For non-operational residential aged care places, the provisionally allocated place will lapse should it not be operationalised within six years.
Similarly, the department will consider the number of unused or “offline” places (places that have not been the subject of a subsidy claim in the previous 12 months) held by the approved provider in determining if an additional allocation of places will be made in this ACAR.
There is up to $64 million in capital grants available under the Rural, Regional and Other Special Needs Building Fund, with $11.5 million earmarked to support access to residential aged care for older people from culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Home care places are no longer allocated by ACAR. From February 2017, funding for a home care package will follow the consumer, allowing a consumer to choose their own provider and direct the funding to that provider.
The closing date for submitting applications is 11:59pm (AEST) Friday 28 October 2016. Applicants are required to submit their application(s) and associated attachments via email to: ACAR@health.gov.au.