Aged Care reform to start in February 2017
In 2011, the Productivity Commission found the aged care sector suffered similar weaknesses as other sectors such as extensive regulatory burden, delayed access to care and a lack in consumer choice. To improve the delivery of home care services to older people, the recommended reform has been scheduled to start in 2017.
With Australians living longer and more productive lives, the home care reforms will provide a solid aged care system underpinned by quality and innovative services at its core. Creating choice through competition, is very much the model currently experienced in the rollout of the NDIS.
As a first stage, the Governments will be introducing a Home Care Package for the consumer from February 2017.
Whilst the second stage will further develop these changes, it will integrate the Home Care Packages with the Commonwealth Home Support Programme to deliver a single care at home package.
These changes will set the foundation to aged care reforms which are guided by the Aged Care Sector Committee Roadmap for Reform to encompass sector consultation. Since the announcement, the Government has engaged with many stakeholders within the aged care sector. A discussion paper has been published gathering feedback from the public consultation.
During 2016, the Government’s engagement will continue its consultation with a variety of stakeholders focusing on continued communication transition activities. A number of webinars have been scheduled to keep the sector informed.
Benefits of the Reform
Like the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the new model will put choice into the hands of the consumer enabling them to select their own providers. The plan is to bring consistency in form of a national approach that prioritises access to the home care packages. Approved providers will have access to a more streamlined process which will also benefit new providers entering this market.
To read more on these developments, the Australian Department of Social Services recently released “Increasing Choice in Home Care”. If these changes affect you, get a free copy of our Unit Costing for Dummies book to prepare for the challenges ahead.