Why it’s likely the CHSP will continue after 1 July 2024
CHSP providers worried about not having enough time to prepare for the new In-Home Aged Care (IHAC) program might be worrying about the wrong thing. Here’s why.
The Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) had 818,228 clients on 30 June 2022. The Home Care Packages Program (HCPP) had 215,743 clients at that time, which had grown to 235,599 by 31 December 2022.
818,228 Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) clients will transfer to the In-Home Aged Care program on 1 July 2024, as will some 250,000 people on HCPs.
In reality, they will move to a slightly modified HCPP, so people on HCPs will be unlikely to feel much has changed at all.
The October 2022 discussion paper A new program for in-home aged care, revealed key features of the new program. By examining those, it becomes clear that IHAC will be HCCP with a few tweaks.
IHAC clients will be on a quarterly budget determined through the assessment process. This is very similar to the Department transferring money into HCP clients’ HCP accounts, from which HCP providers are currently paid in arrears. There will be a service list, as there is now, and there will be flexibility as to changing the service mix.
So it appears that nothing much will change for HCP providers.
But for CHSP providers a lot will change and will change fundamentally.
The change from in-advance block-funding to in-arrears activity-based funding will be the most important change. It is also a change many CHSP providers will be unable to make or even unwise to make.
A while ago, CPSA posted here about two Victorian local councils pulling out of CHSP. Many Victorian councils were involved in providing home care through the Home and Community Care (HACC) program funded by the Commonwealth and administered by the state and territories. Then they moved to block-funded CHSP. Both councils cited the risk associated with operating in-arrears activity-based funding under IHAC as the reason why they pulled out.
Another Victorian Council, Mildura, will stop being a CHSP provider on 1 July 2023.
The interesting thing for other CHSP providers is that there are now reports about the Mildura pull-out that the federal Department of Health is actively working to replace this CHSP provider.
Five new providers have been awarded contracts by the Commonwealth Government to deliver Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services across the Mildura Local Government region from 1 July 2023.
What these council pull-outs have in common is that they are in populous areas with other services able and willing to absorb clients previously with another (big) provider.
The question is: will the Commonwealth Government be able to find replacement providers, as it has in Mildura, for hundreds of thousands clients? The answer is: maybe, if they had years to do it in.
That’s why CPSA thinks that on 1 July 2024, the start of the new IHAC program, could be a lot less momentous than it may currently loom in the minds of worried CHSP providers.
The chance that there will be a gradual transition from block-funding to activity-based becomes better with every day that passes.