Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Home care services, now the client's choice

The little understood stepping stone to Aged Care, Home Care Services, seem to be something that many older Australians have, but very few understand.  At this point in time, the client's Home Care Service contract, which provides personal services, support services, and clinical care, is held by the provider. 

This means that if you are in want of Home Care Services, then you need to go on a provider's waiting list, and if you are currently receiving home care, it is nearly impossible to resolve any service issues that you may have by changing providers.  This is all changing, as of the 27th of February 2017.

By the end of February, a new client will go into a national queue that is administered by My Aged Care, and will allow those clients who are a higher priority to be fast tracked.  Once you reach the top of the list, you are given the details of your Home Care package, as well as a unique referral code.  This gives provider choice to the client, as they have 56 days from the date of their assignment letter, to enter an agreement with a provider.

Another positive step that the Government is taking is by removing the "Band" system when determining Home Care package eligibility.  This will allow the ACAT assessors to do their jobs more efficiently by allocating the specific level of care, based on the individual's needs.

A concern that I have, as an industry observer living close to rural areas, is that the national queue system is designed to allocate on a first in basis.  Will this necessarily work in those smaller, far flung communities that don't necessarily have multiple providers to choose from?  If there is only a single provider in the area, are they reliant on the processing speed of My Aged Care, and how will this threaten the provider's financial viability?

Shifting the monopoly of services away from the providers and into the hands of the client makes sense.  If the client does not find the service satisfactory, which is, in my experience, a surprisingly common complaint, then they can move.  However, as we in Australia have seen with the Pink Batts scandal, introducing competition into Government funded areas does not always go to plan. 

As a society, we seem to be very pro-active in establishing safe environments for our young because they are vulnerable, but do not seem to extend the same care to our elderly, who are also vulnerable. I am hopeful that My Aged Care are all over the potential pitfall of maverick operators, because even in highly regulated, spot lighted industries such as Child Care, we still seem to have the occasional scandal erupt with providers not meeting quality care standards.

Find Erin* at Achieveit Financial Planning or call for an appointment on 07 4638 5011.

*Authorised Representative of Securitor Financial Group Ltd ABN 48 009 189 495 AFSL 240687.

This is general information only and does not consider your personal circumstances.  You should not act on any recommendation without obtaining professional advice specific to your circumstances.  We recommend you speak to a financial adviser before acting on any of the information you read on this website.

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