Bupa Aged Care in court

Bupa Aged Care in court for alleged misrepresentation of services


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It's alleged the aged care facilities that didn't provide the extra services included Bankstown and Tamworth in NSW, Coburg and Caulfield in Victoria, New Farm in Queensland and South Hobart in Tasmania.

It's alleged the aged care facilities that didn't provide the extra services included Bankstown and Tamworth in NSW, Coburg and Caulfield in Victoria, New Farm in Queensland and South Hobart in Tasmania.

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It's alleged Bupa didn't provide the services to residents that they paid for.

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HOT breakfasts, specialised programs and services, and smart room systems for dementia patients - these are just some of the promises Bupa Aged Care made to its residents.

But the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) alleges many of these services weren't provided or only partly provided across 21 facilities, despite residents paying for them.

The watchdog is now taking the aged care provider to court.

Between December 2007 and June 2018, Bupa charged thousands of residents across the country for packages with extra services. These packages often cost thousands each year. But the ACCC alleges the services weren't delivered.

Those services include smart room systems to assist those with dementia; air-conditioning in all bedrooms; covered outdoor exercise areas; large talking-book libraries; tactile and sensory walkways; fully-equipped physiotherapy rooms; separate leisure activity spaces; hot breakfasts; and travel escorts for outside appointments.

"In some cases, the alleged misleading representations related to services that were significant to the quality of life of elderly residents," said ACCC chair Rod Sims.

"Misrepresentations in the aged care sector are particularly concerning, because unlike many other services, it's often difficult for elderly residents to move to another provider."

Bupa confirmed it has reimbursed aged care residents and proactively engaged with regulators after an internal review uncovered the missing extra services in 2018.

"We apologise unreservedly to those residents and families who have been affected, and we have reimbursed all current residents impacted with interest," said the provider's managing director of aged care Jan Adams.

"We are committed to addressing this to put things right. Those who may have been affected have been contacted directly by Bupa. To date, we have repaid approximately 550 residents."

Ms Adams said the provider notified regulators, including the ACCC, as soon as management became aware of the issue.

"We have made significant changes to our systems to ensure this does not happen again," she said.

"We also engaged independent external advisers in the development of the repayment program to ensure a fair and equitable approach."

Bupa said the extra services were not clinical care or health services but rather additional "hotel type" services that involved a higher standard of accommodation and hospitality services.

The extra services packages are no longer available in Bupa aged care facilities.

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