To provide more transparency over the controversial charges for premium rooms, aged care facilities will soon have to publish their charges. As costs for premium rooms range between an additional $50 to $100 per week over a standard room and are not covered by DHB funding these fees are negotiated between the facility and the resident or their family.
These charges have become a growing revenue stream for the sector but there have been concerns raised about the level of understanding about the charges and a call for more transparency. DHB's were pushing prior to COVID-19 to have facilities publish their room charges and clearly indicate a minimum and maximum charge by room type. The deadline for this initiative has now been set down for October 1.
Aged care facilities say that they have been clear in their pricing and residents and their families are advised on the options. Consumer NZ raised the issue of the perception of a higher room rate giving the impression of a higher level of care. Where no standard rooms are available a new resident may be asked to pay for a premium room only if occupancy is 90 percent or higher and that there is a facility within 10km that could offer a standard room.
This further focus on aged care facilities comes amidst the biggest crisis in the sector for years with the impact of COVID-19 on care protocols and the danger the virus represents to residents.