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Aged care places at risk in areas with greatest need

Posted 17 June 2015

Wednesday 17 June 2015

Aged care service providers in some of Victoria’s smallest and most isolated communities may be forced to limit aged care places without changes to an outdated funding arrangement going back more than 20 years.

Victorian Healthcare Association (VHA) CEO Tom Symondson said Victoria’s seven multi-purpose services (MPSs) are integrated health, community and aged care services that exist in small, isolated communities that cannot support a normal health service market.

“Unfortunately Victoria’s MPSs currently find themselves in a position where the funding arrangements to support their aged care places are outdated and have not kept pace with the national funding average provided to public sector residential aged care services,” Mr Symondson said.

“Further to this, under the current funding arrangements MPSs are not eligible for government accommodation supplements or to receive consumer accommodation contributions from residents receiving government assistance – the majority of their patients – adding further stress to their financial viability.

“Under these restraints Victorian MPSs are collectively missing out on more than $3 million a year, and while our MPSs do everything they can to accommodate their local residents, if this is not rectified by the Federal Government soon it may risk the availability of aged care places in the future.”

The current disparity between funding for a public aged care place in MPSs and the national average is $25.13 a day less for a high care place (18%) and $56.66 a day less for a low care place (65%).

Mr Symondson said MPSs are unique in their flexible service delivery and absolutely vital to the communities they serve.

“Without these MPSs residents would need to travel hundreds of kilometres round trip to access basic healthcare services,” Mr Symondson said.

“We urge the Federal Government to recognise the importance of MPSs to their communities and make this simple fix that will make a significant difference to the sustainability of our MPSs.”

Media contact: Rachel White – 0438 815 561 rachel.white@vha.org.au

About multi-purpose services

Victoria’s MPSs are based in Timboon, Apollo Bay, Corryong, Orbost, Robinvale, Ouyen and the Alpine region. MPSs exist where communities are too small and often too distanced from larger towns to support a sustainable health service either commercially or under the usual public funding arrangements.

Through a flexible funding model MPSs are able to deliver a mix of healthcare services to meet the needs of their local communities including urgent and acute care, allied health, social work, chronic disease management, midwifery, pathology, oral health, preventative health activities, in-home care and aged and disability care.

The mix of services MPSs offer deliver significant social and economic gains for patients and governments as:

  • patient transportation costs are driven down,
  • patients receive faster access to care, and
  • patients are close to family and loved ones who are instrumental to the recovery process.

Additionally by having access to well-rounded care, MPSs play an integral role in supporting local residents to stay in their homes longer and reduce the time spent in costly and often less preferable aged care settings.

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