FOR now, the merged Home Care Package Program, the Commonwealth Home Support Program and the Short-term Restorative Care Program will be called the In-Home Aged Care program.
A lot is not yet known about this new program, and its name may well change between now and 1 July 2024, when it is scheduled to take off, but IHAC rolls off the tongue easily enough.
Since last January, the Department of Health has been busily getting together the details of CHSP clients without an active client record in My Aged Care. CHSP providers should refer to the Missing CHSP Client Migration – Quick Reference Guide. It’s providers who are doing all the work here, and they have until midnight 26 May 2023 to finish it.
The success of the mammoth task the Department has set itself will depend on how it manages to shape the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) into what seems to be a hybrid of the current Home Care Package Program and the NDIS.
CHSP providers will not be administering Home Care Packages. Instead, as do NDIS providers, they will assist in implementing care plans drawn up following independent assessments. These care plans will come with a set budget: no more Home Care Packages, no more unused funds sitting in provider accounts.
CHSP providers will then have to become accustomed to, and survive in the brave new world of activity-based funding, just like NDIS providers. Obviously, current Home Care Package providers are already working under activity-based funding (paid in arrears!).
It is CPSA’s interpretation that CHSP block-funding, a set periodic, overall subsidy amount (paid in advance!) to be spent providing services in an area of operations, will continue for community transport, meal services, social support groups and cottage and centre-based respite.
Another exception will be made for providers who provide in home care in what the Department calls “thin or niche markets”, meaning regional and remote areas generally.
CHSP providers who are not in “thin or niche markets” and not involved in transport, meal and social support services will be activity-based funded.
CHSP providers unable to work out how they will transition from being paid in bulk in advance to being paid in arrears for specific services in a monthly payment, risk trading insolvent. Not being able to pay wages, even for one month, can be catastrophic.
But this transition is not just about bridging finance. It is also about having the right information systems to connect with the payment platform used by the Department. This payment platform is under development. Something to watch closely.
There’s no news on client contributions yet, but these are highly likely to be those that apply for Home Care Package clients currently.
Clarification: Initial publication of this post on 1 March 2023 failed to make it clear it’s CPSA’s interpretation of information published by the Department of Health that certain CHSP providers will continue to be block-funded.
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