How the home care waiting list will disappear on 1 July 2024
Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) providers transitioning to the new In-Home Aged Care program would expect to transition to a program with a waiting list. The Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) has one. It would be logical for a combined HCPP/CHSP waiting list to continue.
HCP waiting list
The HCPP continues to operate with a sizable waiting list, which the Department of Health and Aged Care calls the National Priority System. (It obviously makes a great deal of difference to a person who is waiting for aged care whether they are waiting or are being prioritised.)
This waiting list used to be so long that the current waiting list looks short by comparison. Credit where credit is due though, the waiting list has been shortened enormously thanks to the efforts of the Commonwealth.
CHSP waiting list
The CHSP itself does not have a waiting list, not a centralised one, anyway. Individual CHSP providers may keep a waiting list for services they provide, but no one really knows what’s happening nationally.
The new waiting list
Obviously, once all current Home Care Package (HCP) and CHSP providers have transitioned to the In-Home Aged Care (IHAC) program, which commences in fourteen months, what form will the waiting list take?
It may not take any form at all, because we may find that on 1 July 2024 nobody is waiting anymore.
For a few years now, the Department has published quarterly HCPP data reports containing the HCP waiting list. The most recent one, for the December 2022 quarter, shows that 37,894 people were waiting for an HCP “at their approved level”.
That’s a lot of people, but exactly one year earlier that number was almost double. So, it may well be that the number will be at, or close to, zero.
But not so fast.
Of those 37,894 people, the report says, 29,701 were receiving interim care through the CHSP. The suggestion seems to be that there are therefore only 8,193 people waiting for aged care at home.
What is also obvious is that if you merge the HCPP and CHSP into a single program, the 29,701 people will no longer be shown as waiting.
Apart from people who are waiting to get into an HCP for which they have been approved, the report also shows there are “20,029 people assigned an HCP and considering whether to take up their offer”.
The question is, why are so many people, who only have to say ‘Yup!’, not doing so? The answer is that people baulk when they find out how much they are expected to pay in personal contributions if they take up their offer.
Now move forward to 1 July 2024, what will those 20,029 people (or whatever the number will be on that date) do? There will no longer be a CHSP to fall back on. Unless they can afford the inevitably much higher personal contributions, they will do without aged care, or make do with less aged care than they have been approved for. Those who really need all of the aged care for which they have been approved may decide to go into a nursing home. In any case, as a statistic they will disappear.
All that will be left on 1 July 2024, are 8,193 people (or whatever the number will be on that date) who currently receive no aged care at all despite having been approved.
Not worth keeping a waiting list for.