The decision was made at the end of last year as part of the Mid-Year Economic and fiscal outlook and aims to create federal government budget savings of $11.6 million over three years.
“The ceasing of this subsidy is simply an outrage, and will once again have a negative impact on many elderly people living in the western suburbs of Melbourne,” says Bruce Mildenhall, Doutta Galla Aged Services chairman.
The purpose of the Pre-Entry Leave subsidy is to pay the residential care provider a subsidy to keep the aged care place vacant for up to seven days after the resident decides to accept the place.
“The subsidy gave new residents peace of mind at a time of significant change, and provided them with adequate time to make arrangements, pack up their belongings and get themselves in order to make the emotional move into permanent residential aged care. It enabled aged care providers to hold a bed for new residents, without financial stress to either resident or provider," Mr Mildenhall says.
“Realistically this decision is going to impose additional stress on older people who are already dealing with a very emotional and challenging situation. With over 50% of our 500 residents being financially disadvantaged, Doutta Galla believes it would be unfair to pass this cost onto a new resident," he adds.
The financial impact to Doutta Galla Aged Services on the total axing of the Pre-Entry Leave subsidy is about $185,000 per year.
“Residential aged care providers are reeling from the cuts by this government. In July we received the news about the cutting of the dementia and severe behaviour supplement which striped $800,000 from our budget and now the Pre-Entry Leave subsidy. This is now close to a $1 million which has been callously ripped from our budget,” Mr. Mildenhall says.
Adjunct Professor John G Kelly AM, Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) chief executive, says it is disappointing that the measure had been imposed on the sector with no consultation.
“Providers who wear the cost will have less money for care and services and in some instances this may mean not employing staff,” Adjunct Professor Kelly says.
“ACSA will continue to work with government to achieve the best outcomes for older Australians and our members are always available to explain how decisions will affect care.”