How to make your Home Care Package pay for less admin, more care

Article published 4 August 2021

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THE Government is going to conduct home care assurance reviews. A frequent and recurring complaint by people on Home Care Packages is that too much of their Package budget goes on admin, which includes actual administration, coordination and case management. There are claims that more than half of the money funding Packages ends up not paying for actual care.

The theory underpinning Packages is that the care recipient will keep an eye on how their Package money is spent and will complain and make a fuss if they’re not happy. But practice is letting the theory down. Even those able to complain about how their Package money is spent will tell you that they’re ignored by the provider and that the Complaints Scheme run by the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission does nothing.

Enter the home care assurance review.

Home care assurance reviews are in addition to home care quality reviews, which assess provider performance against the aged care quality standards.

Home care assurance reviews are about money. They are, in fact, financial audits aimed at stopping providers from defrauding Home Care Package recipients and the Australian Government.

They are to be conducted “from time to time’ by the Australian Department of Health. From time to time means that the Department of Health will not conduct these audits regularly but, presumably, only if it smells a rat.

If what people on Packages are saying is anything to go by, there are a lot of rats. The Home Care Packages program is highly likely being scammed on an epic scale, reminiscent of how nursing homes used to (and some would say still continue to) rort ACFI, the Aged Care Funding Instrument.

So, all good, except that the legislation for the new home care assurance reviews does not cover how people are able to report their grievances to the Department of Health.

CPSA suggests that people forward their detailed complaints about Home Care Package providers to the Hon Greg Hunt,, Minister for Health and Aged Care, PO Box 6022, House of Representatives, Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600.

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