The Federal Government announced the Home Care Programme – Increasing Consumer Choice initiative as part of the 2015-16 Budget, with reforms commencing on 27 February 2017. These changes will occur in three main areas:
2. What is not changing?
Additional information is available from the Department of Health factsheet Introduction to home care changes and in Issue 2 of LASA’s Home Care reforms information series on Home Care Agreements.
The Department of Health has released a factsheet identifying key activities that providers should undertake prior to 27 February 2017. Some points to keep in mind include:
4. Do I still need to notify the Department of Health if I don’t want to charge an exit amount? Prior to 27 February 2017, if your organisation has decided not to charge an exit amount, you will not need to complete the notification of home care maximum exit amount form.
However, from 27 February 2017, you will be prompted to enter an exit amount (which can be $0.00) when logging into the My Aged Care provider portal. This is the only mandatory field that will change on the service finder. Once you have entered this figure into the relevant field, it will be published on My Aged Care. The inclusion of this information aims to improve transparency for potential clients.
Of note, the system generated receipt, as stated in the provider readiness checklist, will not be available until release 8 of My Aged Care. Therefore, providers should take a screen shot of the message with the amount and the time stamp for their records.
5. Do I still need to update my home care agreements if I don’t want to charge an exit amount? This may be a good opportunity to review existing Agreements to ensure that the reference material is still accurate. Content that may need to be reviewed could include:
You may also wish to take the opportunity to include a notice period in which the client must provide notice (for instance, specific number of days) prior to the cessation day.
It is important that any variation to an existing Home Care Agreement includes evidence of mutual consent, this doesn’t mean that a new Home Care Agreement needs to be written. Instead, a provider can look at alternative options such as a letter of variation signed by the provider and the client and/or their representative.
6. What do I need to do if a Home Care client wants to transfer to my service? There are five points to keep in mind if an existing home care client seeks to transfer to your service:
Additional information is available from the Department of Health factsheet on changing home care providers and in Issue 3 of LASA’s Home Care reforms information series on Unspent Home Care Amounts and Exit Amounts.
7. Do I need to reconcile and notify the client if their unspent Home Care amount is zero? You need to reconcile and notify clients (even if the amount is zero) when a client ceases receipt of services as follows:
Additional information is available from the Department of Health factsheets on changing home care providers and unspent home care amounts and in lssue 3 of LASA’s Home Care reforms information series on Unspent Home Care Amounts and Exit Amounts.
8. Will the DHS Claiming Processes change on 27 February? There will be no changes to the claims process for either online or paper based claiming channels. With the introduction of the unspent home care amount requirements, the payment statement and the claim process will include the ability to record the Commonwealth portion of the unspent home care amount. As outlined in the above question, you will need to notify the Commonwealth of this amount, even if it is zero.
From 27 February, claims will no longer be blocked by over occupancy restrictions for care recipients receiving care and services from 27 February. It is important to note that existing occupancy rules will continue to apply up until 27 February.
Services will no longer need to submit a change in the level of care for a consumer from 27 February 2017 for the DHS to action. Instead, once a consumer has been approved (in relation to their changed level of care) and assigned a package, this information will now be sent to the DHS, as will any subsequent changes to a consumer’s assigned package level.
9. Will a new Operational Manual for the Home Care Packages Programme be released? The Department will not be releasing a revised Operational Manual for the home care package programme and instead encourages providers to refer to the relevant Legislative Instruments, factsheets and webinars.
The home care changes will be introduced through the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Act 2016 which will result in amendments to a number of existing Principles and Determinations and the introduction of four new Legislative Instruments:
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