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Quality Of Aged Care Will Continue

10 July 2001

The Ministry of Health will consult with aged care providers over the next few months to ensure New Zealand's aging population receive ongoing quality long term care and other health services.

Ministry staff have already worked closely with the aged sector including the New Zealand Private Hospitals Association over the past two years to determine the best method of service delivery and to assess providers' daily costs.

Disability Policy Manager Libby Carr said one way of maintaining quality of care for the elderly whilst working within tight budget constraints is to standardise aged care pricing and end current provider price inequities.

"Rest homes and dementia homes are in general receiving less money than they should. At the same time, funding for continuing care hospitals is at a relatively higher rate.

The Government spends about $500 million on rest homes, dementia care and continuing care hospitals (geriatric care) every year.

"By moving $8 million within the sector some of these inequities will be addressed."

"Many providers offer rest home and continuing hospital care and so would be unaffected by any pricing changes".

Ms Carr said continuing care providers would still be able to provide a quality service under the new funding proposals.

"We are confident that standards of care will be maintained at current high levels".

The Ministry of Health is holding a series of consultation meetings around New Zealand starting July 23 to look at a proposal to change the way it contracts with the sector for services.

The Ministry of Health is proposing to use a Section 88 Notice under the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 as a way of funding state subsidised clients in aged residential care. The Notice would replace the individual contracts currently negotiated with over 800 providers.

This new arrangement will standardise service specifications, pricing and quality requirements across New Zealand taking into account regional differences. Previously there was a diverse range of contractual arrangements.

During the meetings the Ministry of Health will be providing information on the proposed pricing structure.


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