Part of their plan for the $85 million set to be invested through the Budget to improve their My Aged Care portal, is to introduce their own aged care comparison system, streamlining of the assessment process of aged care services, as well as the creation of a new taskforce.
Renowned online aged care resource AgedCareGuide.com.au - run through multiplatform media company DPS Publishing - launched their very own consumer-oriented comparison marketplace and ratings system for the aged care sector earlier in the year, which is proving a great success.
DPS Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mark Ogden has welcomed the Government’s dedication to improving the compulsory aged care entry portal, noting that its improvements, when complete, will complement those offered to older Australians and their families successfully through AgedCareGuide.com.au.
“My Aged Care is a portal that people have to use and AgedCareGuide.com.au is a resource that people are choosing to use and together, with their offerings and newly implemented initiatives, they play a key role in the aged care information ecosystem,” he says.
“DPS is in a great position because not only do we offer resources online through AgedCareGuide.com.au, we have our annual printed DPS Guide to Aged Care for each state and territory which are proving ever popular for consumers.”
“We have noted a 35 percent increase in Guides distributed over the past year mainly through Aged Care Assessment Teams, hospital discharge and social worker teams to consumers who still want to receive their own comprehensive printed guide.”
As part of the Government’s announcement, Human Services Minister Michael Keenan noted the complicated nature of My Aged Care, and says the new taskforce will be dedicated to creating a simple new means test form for people entering aged care and will also provide recommendations on faster means testing, including for those with complex financial affairs.
“The current 28-page form can be challenging, so we plan to have major simplifications in place by May next year,” he explains.
“Led by the Department of Human Services, the taskforce will include representation from consumer groups, aged care providers, financial advisers and relevant Government agencies.”
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt says the significant financial investment by the Government hopes to make aged care access and choice “easier”.
“My Aged Care is a vital tool for older Australians and their families and carers,” he says.
“It must be as easy to use as possible, providing people with the right information in a people-friendly format, during what are often challenging times.”
Peak body for not-for-profit aged care providers, Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA), has welcomed the Government’s commitment to simplify aged care access and cut red tape for aged care consumers and their families, through the 2018-19 Budget measures.
“At a time that can be very challenging for those in need of aged care services and support, we need to ensure the systems to access services are more easily navigated,” ACSA Chief Executive Officer Pat Sparrow says.
“When you are frail and require support, the system needs to minimise the stress involved to access essential services.
“ACSA is very much looking forward to working with the Government and participating in the consultation on these initiatives which will improve access for the many thousands of older Australians and their families who require care and services every year.”