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Aged care funding cuts force change

Cootamundra Nursing Home CEO Alex McKenna and Chariman Fred Byrne. Picture: Contributed. The Cootamundra Nursing Home is calling for community understandingas itprepares to make tough structural changes forced upon it by aged carefunding cuts announced in the 2016-17federal budget.
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The changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) would see per-resident funding for Complex Health Care (CHC) needsdecreaseby an average of $5489 per yearfromJanuary 1, 2017 according to a review ofthe impact of the budget cuts, carried out by Ansell Strategic.

That figure is closer to $6655 per year or roughly 11 per centof each resident’scosts according to Cootamundra Nursing Home CEO Alex McKenna.

Mr McKenna said a funding decrease of that size will make it harder for the community-ownednursing home to maintainhigh quality care.

“What we try to do is deliver a very high standard of care with a higher than industry standard ratio of staff to patients.

“Our capacity to do that has now lessened,” Mr McKenna said.

He assured the CootamundraHerald thatthe cuts would not mean job losses.

“We need to streamline our operation but we don’t want to have an impact on wages or hours.

“There may be a change in hours in future however our preferenceis to have as minimal impact as possible.

“Our last option would be to drop any jobs,”Mr McKenna said.

The changes to the ACFI are in response to higher than expected growth in aged care funding claims.

A statement on the Department of Health website said the funding cutsaim to slow this growth.

“In response to this much higher than anticipated growth, the Government announced a range of measures … to mitigate this growth and bring it back to more sustainable levels,” the statement said.

For the Cootamundra Nursing Home, it makes things tough.

“We’re a community-run, not-for-profit home and funding cuts will inevitably mean the way in which we operate will change.

“We’re probably going toneed the community’ssupport and understanding more than ever looking to the future,” he said.

Cootamundra Nursing Home chairman of the board Fred Byrne is urging community members to highlight any concerns they may have about the impact of these cuts to their local MP.

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