SYSTEMIC CHANGES

A major new report has found that the current funding model for aged residential care does not meet people’s needs and should be changed.

The report, commissioned by the Ministry of Health and district health boards and compiled by accountancy firm Ernst and Young, found that around 90 percent of aged residents fall within two care categories – rest-home and continuing hospital care – and that providers are expected to manage a diverse range of needs within a single category price.“This may create disincentives for providers to admit more costly residents, and increases financial risks for both funders and providers,” said the report.

Currently, there are four funding categories for aged care facilities, which can often result in two residents with very different needs being funded at the same level.

“There are regional variations, wherein some places there are patients not in hospital care with the same score as people living elsewhere who are,” said lead DHB chief executive for older people Chris Fleming.“The current four categories fail to take into account the fact that everyone is unique.”

Chris Fleming

The report recommended overhauling funding categories so they reflected the variety of medical conditions and degrees of care required by different people, with up to 15 categories being proposed.

“This makes it more burdensome from an administrative and billing perspective, but these residents are already having comprehensive clinical assessments, so the base for a new funding model is already in place,” said Fleming.

“Delivering services in downtown Dunedin versus in downtown Te Anau is markedly different – I think this new model has all the elements that will enable us to recognise that.”

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