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NEWS: Additional Service - Not the Same as Extra Service



NEWS: Additional Service - Not the Same as Extra Service

With the Department’s strong stance and latest policy on the management of Additional Service Fees, aged care providers are confronted with yet another change. This change, however, can be turned into a positive for your aged care organisation, so I thought it would be timely to raise a couple of issues that you may not have considered in regard to “Additional Service”. First of all, Additional Service is not be confused with Extra Service.

Unlike Extra Service, Additional Service fees are not regulated and do not require special approval from the Department. Every facility has the capacity to offer a wide range of services at a price determined by the organisation. The resident has the right to select these services and opt in or opt out at a later date, at their discretion.
 
Historically, many organisations have been providing services, over and above, the Schedule of Services which have been to the benefit of their residents, which can include which can include lifestyle and entertainment services. These are now referred to as “Additional Services” by the industry.
 
With the Department reviewing, once again, and inevitably downgrading the funding via the ACFI classifications, “Additional Services” can be viewed as being one of the few methods that organisations can use to offset the cost of these previously freely offered “Additional Services”, and/or increase revenue from those capable of paying, to continue to offer those same services to those who cannot afford to pay.
 
Equally, as part of the ongoing selection process by potential residents and/or their families, in my view, one of the criteria used in that decision will be the range of Additional Services on offer by each facility.  As occupancy becomes more competitive, this will be a more relevant factor.
 
With over 40 years’ experience in the aged care industry, in my opinion, the market place is changing significantly under the increased “Consumer Choice, Consumer Directed Care” model the Department is strongly promoting.  Traditional models will need to be revamped, made more competitive and choice-focused and be designed to show points of difference, choice and diversity.
 
e-Tools now offers an Additional Services Add-On to our resident agreement software, NeRA, to assist our clients meet the Government’s expectation of compliance and transparency in dealing with residents in this “opt in, opt out” arrangement. 

David Powis
e-Tools Managing Director

Providers should seek their own independent legal advice about their responsibilities under the Aged Care Act 1997 when deciding on the implementation of Additional Services.




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