Cootamundra Nursing Home needs community support

The Cootamundra Nursing Home is calling for community understanding as it prepares to make tough structural changes forced upon it by aged care funding cuts announced in the 2016-17 federal budget.  

Cootamundra Nursing Home CEO Alex McKenna and Chariman Fred Byrne. Picture: Contributed.

Cootamundra Nursing Home CEO Alex McKenna and Chariman Fred Byrne. Picture: Contributed.

The changes to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI) would see per-resident funding for Complex Health Care needs decrease by an average of $5489 a year from 2017, according to a review of the impact of the budget cuts, carried out by Ansell Strategic. 

That figure is closer to $6655 a year, or roughly 11 per cent of each resident’s costs, according to Cootamundra Nursing Home chief Alex McKenna.

Mr McKenna said a funding decrease of that size would make it harder for the community-owned nursing home to maintain high 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 said the cuts would not mean job losses.

“We need to streamline our operation, there may be a change in hours in future, however,  our preference is to have as minimal impact as possible,” Mr McKenna said. 

The government says 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 cuts aim 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.

Mr McKenna said it was important the community understood the challenges facing the home.

“As a not-for-profit home, we’re probably going to need the community’s support and understanding more than ever looking to the future,” Mr McKenna 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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