Whiddon CEO advocates urgent review of financial strain on aged care facilities in medium rural towns

Australia’s Aged Care Sector Full-Year Report 2022-23, UTS Ageing Research Collobarative (UARC)

In a year-end update, rural aged care provider Whiddon, has sounded the alarm regarding the financial distress faced by aged care homes in Medium Rural Towns (MMM4), as highlighted in the recently released Aged Care Sector Report.

Chris Mamarelis, Whiddon’s CEO, is speaking out, urging an urgent review of the funding model that fails to account for the unique challenges faced by rural care providers.

The report indicates that Aged Care Homes in MMM4 regions are experiencing the highest rates of financial distress, raising concerns about the equitable distribution of resources. Mamarelis claims that there is a flawed nature of a funding formula that treats the operational demands of aged care homes in both urban and rural areas as identical.

Under the Modified Monash Model (MMM), Whiddon has five aged care homes in the MMM4 region, catering to over five hundred residents daily in locations including Moree, Narrabri, Casino, Mudgee, and Laurieton. Despite their vital role in these communities, the funding model overlooks the additional challenges faced by rural facilities, including employment difficulties, logistical intricacies in transportation and sourcing supplies, maintenance hurdles, and the need for comprehensive support.

Mamarelis has been a vocal advocate for a funding review since 2021, emphasising the urgent need for policymakers to address the disparities. While there has been a positive step with increased funding for MMM5 towns in the 2022-2023 budget, Mamarelis stresses that more needs to be done to bridge the gap.

The aged care sector awaits recommendations from the Aged Care Taskforce and the expanded role of IHACPA in reviewing aged care pricing based on actual costs, which took effect from July 2023.

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