Resource Utilisation and Classification Study

Page last updated: 10 April 2019

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

RUCS Overview and Reports

The department engaged the University of Wollongong to undertake a Resource Utilisation and Classification Study (RUCS). The purpose of this study was to determine the characteristics of residents that drive residential care costs, and use this information to inform the government’s consideration of future reform options.

The RUCS was completed in December 2018. The Australian Health Services Research Institute (AHSRI) at the University of Wollongong have produced a suite of seven reports on the key elements of the RUCS. Report Six synthesises the findings of the study and consolidates the recommendations.

The department is seeking targeted feedback on proposed residential aged care funding reform options. To assist with this process, the department has prepared a consultation paper.

View or download the consultation paper or provide a submission to this via the department’s consultation hub.

Report One: The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN‐ACC)

Report One covers the design and conduct of the study undertaken to develop the Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN‐ACC). It covers the design and use of the AN‐ACC assessment tool and the resource utilisation study undertaken to develop AN‐ACC Version 1, including the preparation and analysis of the data collection. It discusses the results, the classification development process and key outcomes including the statistical analysis and clinical validation.

Report One: The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN‐ACC) - PDF 692 KB 

Report One: The Australian National Aged Care Classification (AN‐ACC) - Word 483 KB    

Report Two: The AN‐ACC assessment model

Report Two presents detailed findings relating to the external assessment tool and assessment process. This includes the development of the assessment tool using expert clinical panels and a summary of feedback from assessors regarding the use of the tool and the suitability of individual instruments. The skills and competencies required for the assessment workforce and other implications for implementation of the external assessment model are considered as well as triggers and protocols for reassessment.

Report Two: The AN‐ACC assessment model - PDF 976 KB  

Report Two: The AN-ACC assessment model - Word 381 KB     

Report Three: Structural and individual costs of residential aged care services in Australia

Report Three presents the analysis and findings of Study Two which identified the proportions of total care costs that are fixed (including shared care) and variable (relating to individualised resident care). The analysis focuses on the differences in fixed costs between different types of facilities, characterised by ownership, size, remoteness and service specialisation. It includes an analysis of the drivers of fixed care costs.

Report Three: Structural and individual costs of residential aged care services in Australia - PDF 663 KB  

Report Three: Structural and individual costs of residential aged care services in Australia - Word 510 KB       

Report Four: Modelling the impact of the AN‐ACC in Australia

Report Four presents an analysis of modelling the introduction of the AN‐ACC across Australia. This is based on the findings of Study Three. The sampling and assessment data collection process and the casemix of residents in aged care across Australia are described. The focus of this report is on modelling the introduction of the AN‐ACC to replace the ACFI.

Report Four: Modelling the impact of the AN‐ACC in Australia - PDF 403 KB  

Report Four: Modelling the impact of the AN‐ACC in Australia - Word 235 KB   

Report Five: AN‐ACC: A funding model for the residential aged care sector

Report Five presents the design of a new funding model based on the AN‐ACC. It includes a consideration of other payment issues such as existing payment supplements, a discussion of incentives in funding model design and key issues in implementing the new model.

Report Five: AN‐ACC: A funding model for the residential aged care sector - PDF 331 KB   

Report Five: AN‐ACC: A funding model for the residential aged care sector - Word 185 KB  

Report Six: AN‐ACC: A national classification and funding model for residential aged care: synthesis and consolidated recommendations

Report Six syntheses and consolidates the findings presented in other reports and provides a consolidated set of recommendations.

Report Six: AN‐ACC: A national classification and funding model for residential aged care: synthesis and consolidated recommendations - PDF 323 KB

Report Six: AN‐ACC: A national classification and funding model for residential aged care: synthesis and consolidated recommendations - Word 155 KB

Report Seven: AN‐ACC Technical appendices

Report Seven contains detailed data for reference purposes.             

Report Seven: AN‐ACC Technical appendices - PDF 1.6 MB  

Report Seven: AN-ACC Technical appendices - Word 771 KB

Addendum to Reports: Updated National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) values

AN-ACC NWAU values have been updated slightly from those presented in Reports 4, 5 and 6, due to technical aspects of the conversion between Australian dollars, Relative Value Units (RVUs) and NWAUs. The Addendum to Reports provides updated tables to replace those presented in Report 4, 5 and 6, and are consistent with the figures presented by Professor Eagar to the sector on 14 March 2019. 

Addendum to Reports: Updated National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) values - PDF 406 KB

Addendum to Reports: Updated National Weighted Activity Unit (NWAU) values - Word 185 KB

Next Steps

The Department has commissioned an additional study on the costs of facilities in Modified Monash Model (MMM) 3, 4 and 5.  This study is expected to be completed in June 2019.

The Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, announced a trial on 10 February 2019 as part of a $662 million aged care package to support older Australians. The purpose of the trial is to:

  • field test the assessment tool and supporting software, hardware, IT systems and IT support arrangements, and assessment workforce management processes, to ensure suitability of the RUCS model for national implementation, and
  • validate the RUCS model’s findings about the expected distribution of care recipient classifications.

The trial will commence in the second half of 2019 and is expected to conclude in the first half of 2020.

RUCS Sector Reference Group

The RUCS Sector Reference Group (SRG) was established as a sector advisory body on the design and implementation of the RUCS, providing advice and monitoring progress throughout the study. The SRG met approximately bimonthly or as otherwise required throughout the RUCS, and a summary of matters discussed in each meeting has been 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, 9 November 2018 and 14 March 2019, SRG Members attended stakeholder forums. Communiques for the three forums are available below.

Previous Stakeholder Consultation

Prior to the release of the consultation paper, the Department of Health has held forums to keep the sector updates on progressing the RUCS.

The Department held a 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 on 19 November 2018.

On the 14th of March 2019 the Department held a third Stakeholder Forum. Professor Kathy Eagar presented on the outcomes of the RUCS and its reports. Professor Eagar’s presentation can be viewed at the below link. 

AHSRI’s presentation on the outcomes of the RUCS and its reports at the RUCS Stakeholder Forum on 14 March 2019.