LASA National Board Develops Action Plan with Minister Andrews

By Petrina Smith
Friday, 15 November, 2013

LASA National Board met with Minister Kevin Andrews to discuss key issues affecting the industry.

“The meeting was positive with a commitment from the Minister’s office to meet regularly to receive industry briefings, share advice and develop practical solutions for industry to support Older Australians.”  said LASA CEO Patrick Reid.  “I  am  pleased  to  say  that  our  early  advocacy  has  been  productive  and  we  have  established  a  co-operative approach that will result in an action plan to address LASA’s top issues.

“LASA has led 97% of the age services industry in seeking the re-allocation of the workforce supplement funding into the Conditional Adjustment Payment (CAP). We expect a response from the Minister in the New Year.” said Mr Reid.

Another issue raised by LASA was the Cash flow issues arising from Means Testing of Residential Accommodation Deposits (RAD). From June 2014 consumers who elect to fund their RAD through the sale of their home will now have the RAD amount included in the assets and means test, an important fiscal item that has not been included in the past.

“Someone of modest means will be impacted adversely;  the flow-on effects are clear:  a cash-flow crisis in the industry. Loss of capital will lead to fewer beds being refurbished or built and a diminution of services to a rapidly growing ageing population. LASA is calling on the Abbott Government to exclude the RAD amount from the asset and means test,” said Mr Reid.

Another area of inequality is the cap calculation  for  home care and residential care.  Currently  home care  costs are  averaged throughout the year (for the purposes of the funding cap). However, a consumer in a residential aged care facility must pay all of their costs up front until they reach the annual cap. This highlights a stark inequity between the treatment of the funding cap in home and residential care.

“LASA is calling on the Government to rectify this inequality that places artificial constraints on providing services while also adding unnecessary red tape to an already overly complicated and complex process,” said Mr Reid.

LASA  started  work  with  the  Coalition  while  in  opposition  and  is  now  proceeding  with  a  concrete  agenda  for reducing burdensome red tape across age services.

“LASA  advocates  that  the  role  of  Pricing  Commissioner  should  be  delegated  to  the  Minister  with  a  simple reporting procedure that embeds transparency of pricing with no or minimal further administration.  A stance consistent with the PC Report. “The  1997  process  of  Certification  of  funded  aged  care  facilities  has  taken  place.  Certification  is  now  an unnecessary and  burdensome compliance measure.  LASA is advocating  certification  be abolished  and replaced with  a  standing  declaration  that  a  facility  meets  Division  38  of  the  Aged  Care  Act  1997 and  the  Certification Principles 1997.”

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