Changes to the community care sector are on their way, with significant developments to the government funded Home Care Packages taking place from 27 February 2017. It is important that all community care providers understand how these changes may impact their business and their clients.
What providers can expect
From February 2017, funding for Home Care Packages will be allocated to the client, rather than the provider. This change is designed to provide greater flexibility to clients, as they will be able to direct their funding towards the provider that best suits their needs, and change providers at will. If a client decides to change providers, any unspent funds (less the exit amount) within their package will follow them to the new community care provider.
The level of packages will also change, with a move away from broader, banded levels, towards more specific package levels. From February, the Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACAT) will approve clients for a 1, 2, 3, or 4 level package, based on their care requirements.
The My Aged Care portal will take on a bigger role come February 2017. The portal will hold responsibility for a national process for assigning Home Care Packages to eligible clients. This move will further cement My Aged Care as the main resource for the aged and community care sector and their clients.
The approved provider process is changing
In addition to providing clients with more flexibility, the February 2017 funding changes are designed to make it easier for community care providers to become approved Home Care Package providers. The process for becoming an approved provider will now focus on the ability of the organisation to deliver quality care, and once given, approved provider status will no longer lapse after two years. Approved flexible care and residential care providers will now be given the option to opt-in to provide home care services, rather than the requirement to complete the application process as a new provider.
Clients are being notified of the changes
The Department of Health have begun contacting Home Care Package recipients to provide information about the upcoming changes. The information communicated to clients will differ depending on their individual situation:
- Approved clients – The Department of Health is providing general information about the upcoming changes, and informing clients that they will be able to switch providers based on their needs.
- Interim level clients – These clients are receiving reassurance that their current care levels will continue, and that they will be automatically placed on the national priority queue for their approved level.
- Approved clients who have yet to receive care – The Department of Health will notify these clients of the move to more specific care levels. These recipients may be moved onto the national priority queue depending on their original approval date.
What providers can do to prepare
The community care model is now evolving in line with funding changes and a progressively consumer driven market. These changes are happening rapidly, and the sector has seen an increase in provider consolidations and mergers as a result. In order to remain competitive, it is important that community care providers partner with vendors that have the scalability to grow in line with their business and the wider community care sector.
Interested to learn more about Telstra Health – ADCC’s community care solution? Contact us today.
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