The chair of the aged care royal commission has clarified the inquiry did not endorse the government's decision to privatise assessment teams.
Chair Tony Pagone issued a statement on Tuesday distancing the commission from comments made by Aged Care Minister Richard Colbeck.
"It is desirable in view of the public concerns and statements which have been expressed that it is made clear that the work of royal commissioners is intended to be, and is, independent of government," Mr Pagone said.
The government announced last year it would merge two separate organisations that assessed what aged care services a person was eligible for.
It said it would open the new single assessment team for tender this year.
Senator Colbeck told Nine newspapers in December this was a move supported by the royal commission.
On Tuesday he acknowledged Mr Pagone's comments and welcomed any views the commission had on integrating the assessment services.
"The government continues to respect the independence of the royal commission," Senator Colbeck said.
"The government has consistently refuted claims that our intention is to privatise the assessment process for aged care.
Labor's aged care spokeswoman Julie Collins dubbed Mr Pagone's statement an extraordinary "slap down" of Senator Colbeck.
"Senator Colbeck should correct the record and apologise for verballing the royal commissioners," Ms Collins said in a statement.
She called on the government to come clean on why it had decided to outsource assessments, saying it was more mismanagement of the aged care sector.
Mr Pagone said there had been public concern about the minister's comment, prompting the royal commission to issue the statement.
The commission's interim report did recommend merging Regional Assessment Services and Aged Care Assessment Teams to deliver consistent decisions for older Australians.
It noted the government had agreed to merge the organisations and would "maintain a continued interest in these developments and will monitor their progress".
Australian Associated Press