Resource Utilisation and Classification Study

Page last updated: 12 December 2018

This page provides information on the Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) being conducted for the Australian residential aged care system.

The Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) has been commissioned to undertake a Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) for the Australian residential aged care system. Further information on AHSRI’s work on the project can be found at the AHSRI website. The study will:

  • Identify those clinical and need characteristics of aged care residents that influence the cost of care (cost drivers);
  • Identify the proportion of care costs that are shared across residents (shared costs) relative to those costs related to an individual’s needs (variable costs);
  • Develop a casemix classification based on identified cost drivers that can underpin a funding model that recognises both shared and variable costs;
  • Test the feasibility of implementing this classification and funding model across the Australian residential aged care system. 

While no decisions have been made, the Government is continuing to examine longer-term reform options as a way to ensure residential aged care funding is sustainable into the future and the RUCS will provide valuable information to help inform Government’s consideration of reform options.

Overview of the RUCS

The RUCS will be undertaken between August 2017 and December 2018, and will comprise of three sub-studies:

Study One: The service utilisation and classification development study

  • This study identifies the drivers of cost that are related to aged care residents’ individual need for care (variable costs). It will also develop a casemix system which will classify residents into groups with similar needs and care costs.
  • Study One involves the collection and analysis of financial, resource utilisation and resident assessment data. Data has been collected from 30 facilities in three regions within Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, capturing around 2200 residents.
  • This study has been completed.

Study Two: The shared costs analysis study

  • This study identifies the costs that are shared across all residents (shared costs) and not related to the individual care needs of residents. It examines differences in shared costs between types of facilities as well as differences that may result from seasonal effects.
  • Study Two will involve the collection of financial data from a sample of 110 facilities.
  • Data collection for this study is complete and the study is close to being finalised.

Study Three: The casemix profiling study

  • This study will develop and test the feasibility of implementing a blended funding model with shared and variable funding components for residential aged care in Australia.
  • Study Three will collect resident assessment data in a sample of 80 facilities using the resident classification system developed in Study One. 
  • Data collection for this study will be completed in December.

Supplementary Reassessment Study

  • A supplementary study will assess the change in condition of a proportion of residents originally assessed during Study One, four to six months after their original assessment. 
  • The study will provide information that could be used to develop a reassessment protocol for the resident classification system developed in Study One.

A final report is to be produced in January 2019.

RUCS Sector Reference Group

The RUCS Sector Reference Group (SRG) has been established as a sector advisory body on the design and implementation of the RUCS, providing advice and monitoring progress throughout the study. The SRG will meet approximately bimonthly or as otherwise required throughout the RUCS, and a summary of matters discussed in each meeting will be published on this website. The first SRG meeting took place on 4 October 2017.

The Terms of Reference for the SRG outlines the purpose and membership of the group.

SRG meeting summaries:

On 26 June 2018 and 19 November 2018, SRG Members attended stakeholder forums communiques for the two forums is available below.

Stakeholder Communication Paper 

More information for stakeholders can be found in the Stakeholder Communication Paper. Any feedback on this paper or enquiries related to the RUCS can be directed to RUCS@health.gov.au.

Stakeholder Consultation

The Department of Health held a Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) and Residential Aged Care Funding Reform Stakeholder Forum on 26 June 2018. The forum allows the Department of Health to engage with the sector and share information on the progress of RUCS. Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) presented to the forum and the slides can be found below.

On the 19th of November 2018 the Department held a second Stakeholder Forum. Professor Kathy Eagar presented the Version 1 of the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN-ACC). Professor Eagar’s presentation can be viewed at the below link.

AHSRI's Australian National Aged Care Classification presented at the RUCS Stakeholder Forum

Communication on future forums will be published on this website.