Home Instead's Falon Newman (R) educating seniors about the positive changes to the Home Care Package program.
Home Instead's Falon Newman (R) educating seniors about the positive changes to the Home Care Package program.

Nothing to fear from freedom to select care provider

HOME Care Packages changes to start on February 27, will revolutionise the aged care sector as providers are forced to be more competitive and clients have wider choices.

The most significant change to the program is its focus on the client and their freedom to compare and select a care provider as the HCP will now belong to the client, not the provider.

As result of this change there is an expectation that that the quality of care available will rapidly increase.

Home Instead care director Falon Newman said that unfortunately, since the announcement of the changes have been made, a lot of incorrect information has been circulating.

"It's become more of a fear factor,” Ms Newman said

"People are thinking that once this change happens, they won't be supported and they will have to self-manage these funds, and if chose to leave a provider which they may not be happy with, that they will be on their own.

"This is not correct.”

She believes people need correct information so they are not fearful of the change.

An approved client's HCP is portable which means providers will need to become competitive in their fee structure and more transparent.

"We are also looking at huge differences between providers of up to seven hours per week of care.

"For anyone with a disability or high care needs, those seven hours could mean the difference of them staying at home long-term rather than having to go to residential,” she added.

A client can now choose a provider offering services that best suit the client and maximise the dollars available under the client's package.

"An individual will be able to compare and contrast providers, like they never have before,” Ms Newman said.

"If a client is promised the world and it's not being delivered to them or not what they expect, they can choose to leave that current provider.”

There is an exit fee attached to any change to a provider which should be detailed in the provider contract.

"Read the small print of the contract and question it,” Ms Newman recommends.

"There is also an Aged Care Complaints Commissioner they can go to.”

It's simple to move she said.

A patient tells the current provider of their decision so that the company can advised the government, and then the client advises the new, approved, provider of the move.

It's also now possible for clients to take their HCP inter-state.

As it is often hard for aged care clients to know what questions to ask when comparing and selecting providers, Ms Newman suggests clients use the following lists as a guide -

Services and how they are delivered:

  • What are the services the Provider offers?
  • Can I choose the time of my services (i.e. the exact time I would like CAREGiver requested)?
  • Are services available from 1 hour to 24hrs a day?
  • Does the Provider offer overnight and weekend support?
  • Can I choose my CAREGivers and have them ongoing?
  • What flexibility do I have to change my Services the day's, dates or Time?
  • What notice period does the Provider require and is there a cost involved if I change my services in any way.

What are the fee's charged by Provider's through the Government Packages?

  • What are the Provider's administration fees?
  • What are the Case Management fees?
  • What is the Providers hourly care rate?
  • What is the total hourly cost including all fees?
  • What is the of amount of total hours I will receive at home per week (Mon-Friday services)
  • Are there any exit fee's if I wish to leave?

"The big thing for people to understand is that they are in control and that it's all about them, and their choice.

"Do not feel pressured to choose a provider.

"Ask family member or your GP or nurse for support,” Ms Newman added.

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