Resource Utilisation and Classification Study

Page last updated: 04 May 2018

This page provides information on the Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS) being conducted for the Australia 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 will identify 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 will involve the collection and analysis of financial, resource utilisation and resident assessment data. Data will be collected from 30 facilities in three regions within Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, capturing around 2200 residents.
  • Data collection for this study will occur between March 2018 and June 2018.

Study Two: The shared costs analysis study

  • This study will identify the costs that are shared across all residents (shared costs) and not related to the individual care needs of residents. It will calculate 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 will occur between March 2018 and July 2018.

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 occur between August 2018 and November 2018.

A final report is to be produced in December 2018.

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:

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.