Non-profits need leading technology, Jesuit media guru says

Church Resources head, Jesuit Fr Michael Kelly, said that the not-for-profit sector needs cutting edge technology in order to reduce costs and especially to increase the quality of aged care.

Fr Kelly was speaking at the launch by Health Minister, Tony Abbott, of the Easy Aged Care Solution at an industry event in Sydney yesterday.

Church Resources, Australia's principal non-profit purchasing organisation, has joined with two IT companies to produce a package which offers an integrated financial, resident, client and clinical care management system that it says will deliver benefits for aged care organisations.

Fr Michael Kelly, Executive Director of Church Resources, said that the preferred supplier agreement with the two IT companies came after many months of careful investigation.

"The Easy Aged Care IT Solution will significantly help non-profit aged care providers to take advantage of new technology that will improve business practices, reduce costs and importantly, increase the quality of patient care," says Fr Kelly, who co-founded Albert Street Productions and the former Jesuit Publications.

Church Resources, which now supplies 43 of the BRW Top 50 charities, was launched in 1997 as a voluntary buying cooperative for telecommunications and other products and services.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that financial pressure is forcing the St Vincent de Paul Society to sell its 18 aged-care centres in NSW to a corporate buyer, raising concerns about the future care of the elderly poor and the adequacy of Federal Government subsidies.

The society, which has run aged-care facilities for 40 years, cares for 900 residents, more than half of them poor people with few assets.

Faced with a $50 million bill to upgrade its properties over the next few years to meet new Federal Government building standards, the society has decided to quit the aged-care industry and spend the sale proceeds on younger homeless people.

The society's honorary vice-president, Raymond James, who is managing the negotiations, said: "We could not reconcile such a large capital expenditure to service 900 people against the desperate needs of the homeless."

Another Catholic health and aged-care organisation, Catholic Health Australia, said its members had been interested in buying the business and they were concerned that decisions had already been taken.

Francis Sullivan, the executive director of Catholic Health, said, "We are very disappointed if these services are to be removed from the charitable sector. The long-term needs of the low-income and homeless elderly are not going to be served by corporate Australia."

Mr Sullivan told the Herald that the greying of the population was starting to lure corporations into aged care, once the preserve of churches, charities, and small private operators, and large companies had increased their market share at the expense of the charitable sector.

Australian Minister for Health and Ageing Launches Leading Aged Care Solution (Media Release, Church Resources, 9/11/06)
St Vincent's sale raises fears for aged care (Sydney Morning Herald, 10/11/06)

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10 Nov 2006