APA discusses new aged care funding model with Minister Ken Wyatt AM, MP

27 June 2017 - for immediate release


APA Board and gerontology member Rik Dawson met with Aged Care Minister Ken Wyatt AM, MP this week with recommendations to address funding inadequacies in the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and endorsed key recommendations from the University of Wollongong report into alternative aged care funding.

The APA has previously highlighted that the ACFI is too prescriptive and inadvertently provides incentives to channel physiotherapy care for passive, pain management treatments rather than for quality of life treatments that foster independence and general wellbeing of residents in aged care facilities. Additionally, the ACFI does not allow residents or their families to choose the therapies they want to meet their health goals - such as strength, falls prevention and mobility training - which is in line with current models of consumer-centred care.

Mr Dawson, on behalf of the APA, endorsed the University of Wollongong’s Alterative Aged Care Assessment, Classification System and Funding Models Final Report which proposes a new funding model with two core elements: fixed care payments that allow for funding of essential services for all residents of aged care facilities and variable payments which provide for the individual care requirements of residents that help prevent adverse health outcomes. The APA advocated to Minister Wyatt that this variable payment should also include a physiotherapy and mobility assessment to support residents to achieve optimal quality of life.

The APA further supports a consumer directed funding approach and proposed to Minister Wyatt that a third element be considered, which would allow residents/families to choose which restorative therapies they receive. Not only would this enhance residents’ quality of life, it would also likely result in reduced future care costs.

Minister Wyatt was advised that diverting funds from current passive pain management therapies to those that restore health and wellbeing, as well as manage pain, would allow residents to express their own health goals and choose which treatments they want to meet these goals. Physiotherapists and other AHPRA registered health practitioners would then be able to fulfil these requirements.

Additionally, the APA advocated for the Aged Care Legislative Review and Single Quality Standards to include a nationally managed data registry on mobility and falls amongst residents of aged care facilities, so that physiotherapists can monitor and work to improve health and wellness outcomes.

The meeting was also attended by Professor Joseph Ibrahim, from the Health Law and Ageing Research Unit at Monash University and consumer advocate Mr Boyd Fraser.

Minister Wyatt was receptive to the APA’s recommendations and committed to further consultation. He agreed to investigate expanding the range of physiotherapy provided within the funding envelope for enhanced residents’ quality of life.

About the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA)

The APA is the peak body representing the interests of Australian physiotherapists and their patients. It is a national organisation with state and territory branches and specialty subgroups. The APA represents more than 23 000 members who conduct more than 23 million consultations each year. To find a physiotherapist in your area, visit www.physiotherapy.asn.au/findaphysio




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