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COTA life

Advancing the rights, needs and interests of Queenslanders as they age

Special Edition - Aged Care Reforms

8 November 2016

COTA Queensland and the Aged Care Reforms

COTA Queensland continues to participate in consultations and activities which inform and influence the aged care system.  We meet regularly with the Department of Health to share the experiences of older people in understanding, accessing and navigating the aged care system.  Our advocacy is informed by the work of our Peer Educators and other consumer and community engagement mechanisms; partnerships and collaborations within and across sectors; and collaboration with COTA Australia and the state and territory COTAs.

A team of Peer Educators with the COTA Queensland Community Education Team also deliver face-to-face information sessions with older people and their carers in the community on topics relating to the Aged Care Reforms.  The primary focus over the past year has been the provision of information about accessing in-home aged care and the foundational shift to a consumer directed care model.  During the last financial year, this session Controlling My Own Life: Making the most of Consumer Directed Care has been delivered by 34 Peer Educators to 104 groups reaching more than 2,000 seniors. Over 50% of participants were aged 75 years and older and 30% of participants aged between 65 and 74 years old. Over 80% of participants reported the session increased their understanding of changes in how home care packages are delivered.  The reach of our Peer Educator program is shared wider than those who participate in an information session with 75% of session participants reporting after the session they will share the information they learnt with others.


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Aged Care Reforms - Update Overview


Major changes are occurring in the aged care system through the Aged Care Reforms.  These changes are being progressively implemented over 10 years between 2012 and 2022.  The government’s visiMajor changes are occurring in the aged care system through the Aged Care Reforms.  These changes are being progressively implemented over 10 years between 2012 and 2022.  The government’s vision by 2022 is that Australia’s aged care system will:

• be sustainable and affordable, long into the future
• offer greater choice and flexibility for consumers
• support people to stay at home, and part of their communities, for as long as possible
• encourage aged care businesses to invest and grow
• provide diverse and rewarding career options


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Next Significant Change for Consumers and Service Providers

Source: Department of Health Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Bill 2016 – At-a-Glance document


The next significant change for consumers and service providers occurs 27 February 2017 when the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Bill 2016 is enacted.  Key changes from this date include:


1. Funding to follow the consumer

• Funding for a Home Care Package will follow the consumer, allowing the consumer to choose a provider that is suited to them and to direct the funding to that provider
• The concept of ‘home care places’ will no longer exist, with Home Care Packages being made available to consumers progressively throughout the year.  There will be no further Aged Care Approval Rounds (ACAR) for home care; Home Care Packages will be designated to consumers based on priority of needs, and these packages will be portable

• Unspent funds will move with the consumer.  Please see below for more details


2. National system for prioritising access to care

• There will be a consistent national system for assigning and prioritising packages to eligible consumers through My Aged Care
• The prioritisation process will take into account the relative needs and circumstances of eligible individuals and the time they have been waiting for care
• My Aged Care will support consumers who have been assigned a package with referrals to approved providers, but the consumer will be able to select their provider


3. Reduced red tape for approval of aged care providers


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What will happen to unspent funds if changing providers? 

COTA Queensland is hearing feedback from the community that there is concern and confusion about what will happen with Unspent Funds in current Home Care Packages, if the consumer chooses to move their package to another provider following the 27 February changes. Please refer to the Department of Health information regarding Unspent Funds:

Fact sheets:  Overview of Exit Amounts and Exit Amount-Transition Provisions 

Webinar Increasing Choice in Home – changing providers and unspent funds


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How to get more information on the Increaseing Choice in Home Care Changes to occur from 27 Feburary 2017

Letters to Home Care Package recipients and service providers

1.  The Department of Health is sending letters to recipients of Home Care Packages as well as people who are on a waiting list for Home Care Packages.  This letter will be sent over the next few months, and any queries will be directed to My Aged Care
2. The Department is also forwarding letters to Aged Care providers and facilitating information sessions for providers in regional areas


Department of Health website

The Increasing Choice in Home Care page on the Department’s website provides a range of useful information relating to the changes, including:
• Fact Sheets
• Quick Reference Documents and
• Webinars (a webinar is a seminar over the internet, which is available to view at the time or can be viewed at a later date)


This site is being continually updated and is a useful first reference point for any queries.    

Subscribe to the Department’s announcements and eNewsletter for the Aged Care Industry

The Department of Health communicates regularly by email with the aged care industry and aged care stakeholders.. Messages are available on the announcements page on the Department of Health’s website after they are emailed to subscribers.
Subscribers will also receive the  information for Aged Care Providers newsletter, which provides a snapshot of advice on current key issues. Read previous issues of the Information for Aged Care Providers newsletter.



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Aged Care Reforms Review

Opportunity to have your say

Comments are now being sought on the changes to aged care that were announced in 2012 under the nine matters outlined in the Scope of the review below. 

Consultation on the Aged Care Legislated Review


As part of the changes announced in 2012, a comprehensive review was included in the Aged Care (Living Longer Living Better) Act 2013.  The Aged Care Legislated Review will look at the impact of the changes to date and where we need to take the system in the future.

On 22 September 2016, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AO MP announced the appointment of Mr David Tune AO PSM to lead the Review.

Scope of the Review

Section 4 of the Act requires that the Review must be independent and address nine key matters:
1. whether unmet demand for residential and home care places has been reduced
2. whether the number and mix of places for residential care and home care should continue to be controlled
3. whether further steps could be taken to change key aged care services from a supply driven model to a consumer demand driven model
4. the effectiveness of means testing arrangements for aged care services, including an assessment of the alignment of charges across residential care and home care services
5. the effectiveness of arrangements for regulating prices for aged care accommodation
6. the effectiveness of arrangements for protecting equity of access to aged care services for different population groups
7. the effectiveness of workforce strategies in aged care services, including strategies for the education, recruitment, retention and funding of aged care workers
8. the effectiveness of arrangements for protecting refundable deposits and accommodation bonds
9. the effectiveness of arrangements for facilitating access to aged care services.

The Minister can also specify any other issues to be considered by the Review.

Make a Submission


Download and complete the submission template and email your completed submission to:


Submissions will close at 5pm, 4 December 2016.


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Last chance to have a session on Consumer Directed Care and Aged Care Reforms  

COTA Queensland is currently providing peer education sessions on Consumer Directed Care in Aged Care until the end of the year. Book now to secure one of the last places to have a Peer Educator speak to your group about consumer directed care in aged care reforms.


Alongside the current rollout of aged care reforms, these free sessions are offered to seniors’ groups and groups of future or current consumers of home care services. Consumer Directed Care is a new way of working in community aged care services. The peer education sessions aim to increase the skills and knowledge of consumers so that they may maintain control of their own life by making the most of consumer directed care (CDC), be active partners in determining their own health care and support needs through working in partnership with their Service Provider. Sessions are currently available in southeast Queensland. 

Visit here  for more information and to request a Peer Educator. 


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PO BOX 15525, City East, QLD 4002
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