Home care packages - reform

Page last updated: 16 March 2017

The Home Care Packages Program has been the subject of significant reform to ensure that the Program evolves to meet the care needs of our older Australians.

Australians are living longer and healthier lives and it is important that as people age, they have choice about their care.

Use of consumer directed care

On 1 July 2015, it became mandatory for all home care packages to be delivered on a consumer directed care (CDC) basis.  CDC gives consumers greater choice over the types of care and services they access, how and when those services are delivered and by whom.

Under CDC consumers have more control over their funds for their care and how those funds are spent.

On 1 July 2015 the Australian Government released the Charter of Care Recipients’ Rights and Responsibilities – Home Care to ensure that consumers were aware of the Government’s expectation that delivery of home care package services must be achieved through an equal partnership between consumer and provider.

Increasing Choice in Home Care

The Australian Government announced significant reforms to home care in the 2015 16 Budget under the Increasing Choice in Home Care.  One change was to improve access to home services and allow older Australians to choose who provides their care.

The first stage of the Increasing Choice in Home Care measure was implemented on 27 February 2017. 

From 27 February 2017 all home care packages have been provided to individual consumers rather than the previous method where home care packages were awarded to approved providers under an allocation process. 

This change now gives consumers the ability to choose their provider and to direct the Government subsidy to that provider.  This means that consumers can change their provider if they wish, including if they move to another area to live.

Increasing Choice also introduced a national prioritisation process for access to home care.  The national prioritisation process means a fairer, national way of allocating home care based on people’s individual needs and circumstances and the time they have waited for care.

These changes are an important step in moving towards a future aged care system that is more:

  • consumer-driven
  • market-based
  • less regulated.

The changes also lay the platform for future aged care reforms, which will be guided by the Aged Care Sector Committee Roadmap for Reform and jointly developed with the sector.

Consultation

A discussion paper on the first stage of the Increasing Choice measure was made available (through engage.dss.gov.au) for public consultation in late September 2015. A total of 101 submissions were received from a range of stakeholders. Feedback from stakeholders was used to inform the policy framework, the legislative amendments and the business requirements for IT system changes. A summary report of the key issues and feedback received from stakeholders during the consultations is available.

Webinars

Video recordings and slides of previous Increasing Choice in Home Care webinars are available for viewing.

Evaluation

In mid-2016, the department undertook research involving providers and consumers about recent and future changes in home care.

The research report is now available. It outlines the findings from in-depth interviews with a small sample of home care providers and consumers about the:

  • delivery of home care using a consumer directed care (CDC) model
  • introduction of the Increasing Choice in Home Care measure from 27 February 2017.

Note: Careful consideration should be taken when interpreting the findings due to the small sample size and qualitative methodology used in this research. These findings represent a point in time snapshot of provider and consumer behaviour.

Findings have helped to inform the development of support for providers and consumers to transition to home care arrangements from 27 February 2017.

Fieldwork began in late June 2016 and was completed in early August 2016. The department continued engaging with stakeholders throughout 2016 and in the lead up to the introduction of the Increasing Choice in Home Care measure. This has included undertaking communication and transition activities to support consumers, carers, providers, the assessment workforce, health professionals and other stakeholders to implement the changes.

Earlier reports

In April 2014, KPMG was engaged by the Government to conduct an evaluation of the implementation and operational effectiveness of the Home Care Packages Program and Consumer Directed Care, including applicability in residential aged care. The following three reports provide the outcomes from the evaluation process:

Contact

Specific enquiries about reform of the Home Care Package Program can be directed to agedcarereformenquiries@health.gov.au.

Approved providers should direct questions about the Home Care Packages Program to the My Aged Care providers contact centre on 1800 836 799.

More information