Home Care Package changes kick in from today
MAJOR reforms to the way in which older Australians receive home care services comes into place today.
The Federal Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, MP, officially launches the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms this morning with the promise that up to 100,000 consumes will have "more choice, flexibility and portability in their home care for services such as personal care, nursing and social support".
A lot has been written about the changes in the lead up to today with the concerns of older Australians, but it appears these reforms will bring greater benefits and flexibility for consumers, and make providers more competitive in their package pricing and service quality.
The Home Care Package reforms, which were announced in the 2015/16 Budget, will give consumers the responsibility to choose the best provider for a person's needs.
As the package funding is assigned to the consumer, they can change providers if required and the funding will follow the consumer to the new provider.
The packages will be assigned based on individual needs and circumstances.
It is intended the process will ensure people receive care in a fair and consistent way.
Other changes in the Increasing Choice in Home Care are -
- Funding for home care is portable. For example, if a person living in Melbourne decides to move to Perth to be closer to their family, the home care package will be portable to move interstate.
- If consumers change their provider, any unspent funds in the account - less any account fees - will go with them to a new home care provider.
- Processes to become an approved provider will be streamlined, however, new providers will continue to be required to demonstrate their suitability and meet quality standards.
"Today's announcement is fundamentally about increasing consumer choice and control, however, it is also about reforming, renewing and revitalising our aged-care system," Mr Wyatt said.
"The changes that I have announced today represent a major cultural change in the delivery of aged care."
Further information on the My Aged Care website, at http://www.myagedcare.gov.au or consumers can call 1 800 200 422.
The Department of Health advises the next My Aged Care system release is planned for June 2017.