Changes to the aged care home care package system
On 27 February 2017, significant changes were made to home care packages for the aged in an effort to make packages more market driven and consumer focused. The most important change is that consumers now own their own packages, the package can be moved if the consumer relocates or is unhappy with a provider and a consumer can negotiate with providers to get what they want for the best price.
Update from the Department of Health on home care packages
The Department of Health administers the home care package system. In late March 2017, the department advised that it had released over 14,000 home care packages in March 2017 with the majority to consumers who had never previously held a home care package. The release also assigned packages to consumers who were currently receiving home care but were awaiting a package at their approved level.
The department also advised that it will now move to a more regular release schedule, with packages likely to be released weekly.
Information is not yet available on expected wait times or position in the queue. This is because the system is new and the department needs time to analyse the take up of home care packages, and ensure that meaningful information is available. The department has advised that data on wait times should be published in the second half of this year.
All clients who receive a package will receive a letter with a unique referral code. Consumers can then can either take their referral code to their chosen provider or ask the contact centre to send an electronic referral on their behalf. Consumers are encouraged to research and negotiate with providers using the service finders so they can get the most out of their package. Signpost can do that for you. Just call us on 1800 744 676 and ask about our home care package service.
Until next time
Margaret and Sara