What preparations need to be made with the release of the review of the aged care funding instrument (R-ACFI)?ED CARE FUNDING INSTRUMENT (R-ACFI)?
This question can’t be answered in isolation. The rationale behind this is that to inform residential care funding reform options, the government commissioned two separate reports that were then completed by external bodies:
University of Wollongong. The department engaged the University of Wollongong to develop options and recommendations to help inform the design of future residential aged care funding models (Alternative Aged Care Assessment, Classification Systems and Funding Models). Of note, the options were:
- Refinement of the current ACFI model
- A simplified model with four funding levels.
- Option Two plus supplements subject to external assessment.
- An Activity Based Funding (ABF) model with a branching classification
- A blended payment model with fixed and variable costs.
2. Applied Aged Care Solutions. The department engaged Applied Aged Care Solutions, a private company, to undertake a review of the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) and provide recommendations on potential modifications of the current tool to make it suitable for external assessment; reduce subjectivity in the assessment process and bring it in line with contemporary care practices.
Some key points to consider:
- No decisions have been made on reform options, but…
- The University of Wollongong recommended option 5
- During the ‘An alternative funding model for residential aged care’ seminars where this report was presented and formed part of the government’s consultation with the sector on options for residential aged care reform, the ‘Overview’ slide of the presentation delivered even contained dot-points ‘Why we recommend Option 5’ and ‘A bit more detail about Option 5’
- The University of Wollongong has since been engaged again to undertake a Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) to determine the characteristics of residents that drive residential care costs, the focus of reform work over the next 12 months, and this will inform Government’s consideration of all options.
- Minister Wyatt “welcome(s) the new report on residential aged care funding reform, which adds to the options provided in a recent University of Wollongong report,”
- Could the issue of conflict of interest be eliminated (e.g. groups with vested interests, potential issues with previous involvement in tool design, etc)?
The R-ACFI report has some good recommendations, but in a time-poor environment, before completing any in-depth analysis of this report you may want to consider that:
- Refinement of the current ACFI model was not the recommended option
- If refinement of the current ACFI model is implemented as an interim measure, then recent history shows that changes that are discussed and/or proposed are not always the ones that get enacted
- Time may be better spent ensuring funding is optimised base on residents’ current care needs (and reducing validation downgrade risk in light of recent changes that have occurred)