Aged Care Update - Budget 2015

2015 Budget ushers in welcome next steps in aged care reform

Reflecting a largely bipartisan approach, the Government’s first Budget consolidated the 2012 aged care reforms by progressing the reform strategy initiated following the Productivity Commission’s Report Caring for Older Australians. In its second Budget, the Government has gone further. The centrepiece of this year’s Budget initiates the logical next steps towards creating a consumer-driven aged care system by announcing that ‘funding will follow the consumer’ for home care packages, and that the Commonwealth Home Support Program and Home Care (Packages) Program will be integrated to create a single home care program. 

Specialist Training Program a worthwhile continuing investment in Australia's Future Health Workforce

Catholic Health Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Suzanne Greenwood, welcomed the release of the report into the Administration of the Medical Specialist Training Program (STP) by the Australian National Audit Office on 10 March 2015.  CHA urgs the government to continue funding this program.

Dementia Response Teams useful but do not solve the problem

4 February 2015 

Catholic Health Australia Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Suzanne Greenwood, says that the Government's announcement today of multidisciplinary 'Severe Behaviour Response Teams' providing expert advice to residential aged care facilities as the response to last year's axing of the Dementia and Behaviour Supplement will be useful for some facilities but does not provide a comprehensive response.

What's New in 2015

2015 Promises to be a vibrant and innovative year for CHA.  This month, we are launching a new weekly e-newsletter - with the same valuable information in a new reader-friendly format.  Click here to subscribe!

Later this month, we host an afternoon with Dr Larry O'Connell, President and CEO of the Ministry Leadership Centre in California, USA.  For details about this exciting leader formation event on 20 January 2015 click here to download the flyer.

Key events happening in early 2015 include the Aged Care Forum on 19 March, the Contemorary Catholic Governance Conference on 30/31 March, and from 5 to 7 May will be the Mission Leaders Forum, the Ethics Education Seminar and the Pastoral Care Forum.

Catholic Health Australia names new chief executive officer

The Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board has reached a unanimous decision to appoint a former medico-legal lawyer and Catholic hospital and aged care executive as the new Catholic Health Australia chief executive officer, following an extensive executive search process.

Suzanne Greenwood, the current national chief executive officer of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia, will commence as the Catholic Health Australia CEO in October. Currently based in Queensland, Mrs Greenwood will move with her husband and two children to Canberra to take up the CHA role.

Dementia funding withdrawal hurts vulnerable older Australians

Older Australians living with dementia and severe behavioural and psychological symptoms are at risk of receiving a lower quality of care after the Assistant Social Services Minister Mitch Fifield announced the Government is scrapping the Dementia and Severe Behaviours Supplement.

Mr Fifield said a projected 10-fold overspend in the first year of the Supplement has made its continuation unaffordable, but the timing of the announcement couldn't be worse, Catholic Health Australia argues.

Catholic Health Australia to farewell its chief executive officer

After more than six years of service, Catholic Health Australia chief executive officer Martin Laverty will depart the organisation following his appointment as chief executive of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia.

CHA Stewardship Board chair Rowena McNally said while sorry to see Mr Laverty leave, she was grateful for his leadership contribution and wished him every success in his future career.

"Martin has led CHA expertly, with political and media savvy, and always with an eye to the best interests of those who are cared for in Catholic hospitals and aged care services," Ms McNally said.

Queen's Birthday honour fitting tribute for long-time aged care advocate

Catholic Health Australia Stewardship Board chair Rowena McNally has congratulated Richard Gray, one of the country's leading aged care advocates for more than 20 years, for his "very fitting" inclusion in the 2014 Queen's Birthday honours list.

Mr Gray, who joined Catholic Health Australia in 1996 as director of aged care services, was today named a member of the Order of Australia for "significant service to the community in the not-for-profit aged care and disability service sectors".

$7 co-payment design and monitoring keys to health outcome

Health care co-payments announced in tonight's 2014-15 Federal Budget should be monitored to ensure they do not result in adverse health outcomes for socioeconomically disadvantaged Australians.

Catholic Health Australia, representing the nation's largest network of public and private not-for-profit hospitals, said ongoing monitoring of the new $7 health care co-payments for GP visits, pathology and diagnostic imaging will help avoid a drop in health care outcomes.

Commission of Audit confuses end-of-life care

The decision of the Commission of Audit to make the case for advanced care directives has been questioned by the nation's largest network of non-government health and aged care services.

Catholic Health Australia, which today in partnership with the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference (ACBC) released an Advance Care Plan framework, said the Commission's terms of reference on "scope, efficiency and functions of government" made discussion on end-of-life care appear out of place.

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