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Uncertainty and strain on providers remains

Benetas, one of Victoria’s aged care providers, has added its voice to the expressed concerns of the industry over the handling of the Dementia and Severe Behaviours supplement.

<p>Sandra Hills, Benetas chief executive, claims that from the beginning the Dementia and Severe Behaviours supplement showed a significant lack of consultation.</p>

Sandra Hills, Benetas chief executive, claims that from the beginning the Dementia and Severe Behaviours supplement showed a significant lack of consultation.

The cessation of the supplement, announced at the end of last month by Assistant Minister for Social Services, Senator Mitch Fifield, will bring further adverse impacts to the aged care sector and represents another forgone opportunity to ingrain long term reform for clients living with high care dementia needs.

Sandra Hills, Benetas chief executive, claimed that from the beginning the Dementia and Severe Behaviours supplement showed a significant lack of consultation, poor planning and execution.

“At Benetas, we understand the need for sustainable long term funding arrangements but from the onset, many providers have questioned the process and methodology behind this supplement,” Ms Hills said.

“Concerns have only grown in recent months as the Department of Social Services revealed an unprecedented claiming of the budgeted supplement amount.”

Ms Hills said the supplement was critical to ensuring people with particular needs associated with dementia and severe behaviours receive the best quality care possible.

“The supplement provided greater assurance to aged care organisations which care for high needs clients and allowed for additional services to be provided such as supporting Benetas’ Settling Program at our Gladswood Lodge facility in Brunswick West.

“At Benetas we regard this care as pivotal to our mission and cause and will not compromise on the level of care going forward, even after the cessation of the supplement.”

Ms Hills said that there was no question Benetas would continue to provide care to clients living with high care dementia and severe behaviour needs but this issue was one of concern for the broader sector.

“As a result of this process, some organisations may now be exposed to risk through this sudden decline in revenue. It is troubling that even after the Department has identified this as a significant issue, it has been allowed to continue unresolved for so long.

“What’s more, the decision was made to terminate this supplement with no plan or mechanism in place to deal with these subsequent issues.

“This will place a great deal of uncertainty and strain on providers.”

Benetas urges the government to review its decision and to identify the cost of care for people who require additional supports over and above what the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) provides.

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