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BaptistCare NSW & ACT chief executive Charles Moore and BaptistCare WA chief executive Amanda Vivian will merge their companies. Picture: Tony McDonough/Supplied.

BaptistCare kicks off largest aged care merger of 2023

Two of Australia's top not-for-profit care providers, BaptistCare NSW & ACT and Baptistcare WA, will merge to in efforts to improve financial health and meet mandated care minutes and staffing levels.

Despite sharing the same name, the two providers were separate entities and independently run under different boards and management.

Chief of NSW & ACT BaptistCare, Charles Moore, said the merger was a 'logical fit' as they share the same value-driven approach to person-directed care.

"I'm really excited about our future together and what this means for our residents and customers. We truly believe we will be stronger as one," Moore told Aged Care Insite.

"Strategically, this merger allows two like-minded, well-governed organisations to join forces and become stronger.

"This will afford us scale and capacity to operate sustainably in an increasingly challenging market undergoing rapid change."

Moore said data from accountancy firm StewartBrown on how providers could achieve financial health was one of the major drivers behind the merger.

StewartBrown suggested that providers could raise profit by operating at a larger scale and 'spreading investment costs and leveraging systems and processes.'

Earlier this year, the accountancy firm found that just over one-third of aged care homes made a profit last year due to the industry's 'financially unsustainable framework.'

"By joining forces, we believe we are better placed to increase the number of people we provide care and services to and the quality of care we provide," Moore said.

"We can also more effectively utilise our balance sheet to respond to accommodation supply issues, potentially growing supply and capacity in both states.

"With scale and size will come the opportunity for our newly merged organisation to have an even greater positive and active contribution to the sector."

The merger would lead to a combined revenue of $520m through 33 residential facilities, 25 retirement villages and providing home care services to over 9,000 people.

The workforce is expected to exceed 5,000 staff, of which 750 volunteers.

Moore will become head of the newly merged organisation.

BaptistCare NSW & ACT's sector prominence has grown steadily over the past eight years, ranking 8th in home care and 21st among residential services in Australia's 2021 top 25 providers.

The organisation is one of the East Coast's largest not-for-profit organisations, with 75 locations supporting over 17,500 Australians.

Bolton Clarke currently holds the lead position of Australia's largest not-for-profit aged care organisation, servicing over 130,000 people across 87 residential homes and 38 retirement villages.

Baptistcare WA is considered one of its state's largest in providing older people residential, home care and retirement services.

The organisation also runs a catering arm, Aurum Catering & Management Services, that delivers meals to aged care facilities.

Chief of WA Baptistcare, Amanda Vivian, will take on the new role of executive director of WA, leading state operations and becoming part of the leadership team.

Vivian said the merger would ensure the organisation aligns with the federal government's coming reforms, including July's 24/7 onsite registered nursing mandate.

"The aged care sector is facing numerous pressing issues, not least of which is staff recruitment and retention," Vivian told Aged Care Insite.

"No one in the industry is immune to the pressure on the existing aged care workforce and the current staffing crisis in health care in general."

The health department has mandated a minimum of 200 care minutes per resident daily, effective 1 October 2023.

Yet, the sector faces an annual staffing shortage of an estimated 35,000 care workers and 25,000 registered nurses, hindering recruitment for many providers nationwide.

"We are working towards meeting the mandated care minutes," Vivian said.

"As a larger organisation, we will be better positioned to meet this challenge.

"It will allow us to invest in our people, who ultimately provide the high-quality care we strive to provide."

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