Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents Consumer Directed Care (CDC) & National Disability
Insurance Scheme (NDIS)
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Some providers may also push the boundaries on what is
allowable under the home care guidelines in order to retain
consumers, warned the peak.
In a competitive environment where providers are no longer
guaranteed a level of future income from home care packages,
organisations could also cut administration fees in a bid to attract
clients, said ACSA. “We may also see for-profit providers raising
capital via releasing shares in order to offer administration free
periods to consumers who are willing to sign with them, thus
creating an uneven playing field across the sector, which will see
NFP providers at a disadvantage.”
Others have referred to the “honey pot” effect that will be created
by the deregulation agenda in home care.
The peak body for Catholic service providers, Catholic Health
Australia, stressed the importance of the impartiality and transparency
of My Aged Care, which will take on the dual function of assessing
and prioritising clients based on individual need. CHA said in its
submission it was important that the process of selecting a provider
was genuinely an independent choice exercised by the consumer.
“The business rules [of My Aged Care] should include provision
for monitoring the assignment patterns of individual assessors in
order to reinforce a culture of independent choice,” CHA said.
ACSA argued there was the potential for variances in the
prioritisation of consumers based on “assessor focus and skill” and
even potential ‘gaming’ of the national priority list.
ACATs would need to be clear about what advice they can
and cannot give to consumers and have a good understanding of
consumer law, said ACSA.
The Benevolent Society said the department should monitor the
provider uptake of packages allocated to special needs groups to
prevent cherry picking of consumers.
CHA said if properly managed, assigning home care packages
directly to consumers from a national pool had the potential to result in
greater consistency and equity for consumers accessing services, which
was currently not the case under the Aged Care Approvals Round.
The new system would also allow for the analysis of
comprehensive national waiting list data to inform policy, including
access by special needs groups and consumers living in rural and
remote areas, it said.
Some peaks also urged the department to consider transitional
funding for the sector and capacity building initiatives for both
providers and consumers.
Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) said the government
should consider establishing a transition business advisory service,
similar to the service that was available to support residential care
providers during the reforms from July 2014.
Appropriate consumer protections for those who need support
in decision-making and have complex needs should also exist to
ensure access to necessary services, said LASA.
Alzheimer’s Australia CEO Carol Bennett said safeguards for
disadvantaged older Australians and people from special needs
groups as well as access to comparative measures of quality must
be in place as community aged care is opened up to market forces.
Under the 2017 changes, ACSA said providers would have increased
difficulty in predicting consumer volumes and staffing requirements,
which may lead to a more casual workforce. “Providers need to
have the flexibility to meet the fluctuating demands of consumers
whilst not disadvantaging employees and making aged care an
undesirable and non-secure career option.”
REFORM SHOULD GO FURTHER, CHA SAYS
Government control over the number of home care packages
available at each level is a major constraint on consumer choice
and continuity of service and should only continue as an interim
arrangement, said CHA. “The objective should be to have home
care mirror residential care, where once a person enters residential
care, the system responds to individual care needs as they change
without having to change care type.”
CHA also supported the option of paying subsidies directly to
consumers or a care coordination agency in future reform. n
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