COTA welcomes the opportunity to provide comment on the Issues Paper as we have taken a strong interest in all the work around prudential regulation of accommodation bonds.
In any discussions about the possible use of accommodation bond funds it is important to remember that these monies belong to the older people and essentially are on loan to aged care providers. It is also important to remember that these are not voluntary payments; people are required, subject to means testing, to make them if they are to access care.
Apart from issues about the process of determining the level of accommodation bonds, and the level of higher value bonds, older people and their families consistently raise two issues with us. The first is around protecting the bond to ensure that it is returned when the person leaves the facility. This is the key issue for consumers, residents and their families, and the one on which COTA gets most enquiries.
The second concern is about the use of bond funds, with consumers wanting to have confidence they are used for aged care purposes. Most consumers actually assume that bond funds are toward the provision of quality care, but may then ask questions when it is suggested they may be used for other purposes.
In considering any changes to the prudential arrangements COTA will want to be sure that the bonds are protected and that they are used for aged care.