Increasing Choice in Home Care

Page last updated: 19 July 2017

The Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms commenced on 27 February 2017 and will improve the way that home care services are delivered to older Australians. 

Policy context

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

The home care reforms announced in the 2015-16 Budget will support consumers to receive the services they need. At the same time, the reforms will strengthen the aged care system to provide high quality and more innovative services through increased competition.

The reforms are consistent with the long term policy directions proposed by the Productivity Commission. In its 2011 inquiry, the Commission found that the aged care system suffers key weaknesses, including a high regulatory burden, lack of timely access to care, and limited consumer choice1.

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

The Department of Health is strongly committed to a consultative approach with the aged care sector to inform programme design and implementation. The Department2 has consulted widely since the Budget and has worked closely with stakeholders in developing the proposed implementation arrangements for Stage 1.

A discussion paper on Stage 1 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 has been 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.

A Home Care Reforms Advisory Group has been established under the National Aged Care Alliance (NACA) to provide ongoing advice to the Minister and the Department on policy, implementation, communication and monitoring issues. The Advisory Group comprises representatives from providers, consumers and carers, unions, health professionals, and state and territory governments.

The Department has actively engaged with stakeholders since the 2015-16 Budget announcement through participation in a range of meetings, forums and conferences. These include meetings of the Aged Care Sector Committee, the National Aged Care Alliance and various forums conducted by peak provider and consumer groups.

The Department will continue to consult with stakeholders on the implementation arrangements, with a strong focus on communication and transition activities during 2016.

Consultation has also been undertaken on the amendments to the delegated legislation (Aged Care Principles and Determinations) required to implement Stage 1. Submissions closed on 9 June 2016. The consultation paper and an exposure draft of the proposed amendments to the delegated legislation are available on the Department’s Consultation Hub.

Legislation

The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Act 2016 (the Amendment Act) gives effect to the first stage of the home care reforms. The changes in Stage 1 will commence on 27 February 2017. The Bill was introduced into Parliament on 11 February 2016 and was passed by the House of Representatives on 2 March and the Senate on 3 March. The Bill received Royal Assent on 18 March 2016.

The Amendment Act and explanatory memorandum can be viewed on the Federal Register of Legislation website. 

Amendments to the Aged Care Principles and Determinations were registered on 23 September 2016. The four Legislative Instruments and Explanatory Statements which explain the changes can be viewed:

Most of the legislative amendments start on 27 February 2017. However, there are some transitional provisions in the Amendment Principles that started on 24 September 2016. These relate to requirements that a provider must satisfy if it intends to include an exit fee in a consumer’s agreement in the lead up to the 27 February 2017 reforms.

Overview of the legislative framework for Increasing Choice

Webinars

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

Previous webinars

Date

Description

Link

Home care reforms and ongoing improvements 15 May 2017 The webinar provided an update on the home care reforms and ongoing system and process improvements.

The webinar focused on:

  • an update on home care package activities – including the package release schedule, flow of referrals and using the provider portal
  • understanding the framework that Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs) apply to the package level and priority recommendations for home care packages
  • ongoing work associated with system and process improvements for the sector
http://livestream.education.gov.au/health/15may2017/
Increasing Choice in Home Care embedding support 28 March 2017

This webinar focused on: 

  • addressing sector concerns about the My Aged Care system and/or processes since the start of the reform
  • discussing technical fixes
  • the national prioritisation system and allocation of packages
  • myth-busting areas of confusion
  • An overview of the online claims system to support the home care reforms (presented by the Department of Human Services)
Watch on the webcast page
Operational readiness for Increasing Choice in Home Care Wednesday 8 February 2017

The webinar offered advice to the sector – in particular providers - on final steps to take to ensure they are prepared for the Increasing Choice in home care reforms starting on 27 February 2017.

Topics included:

  • Administrative activities in the lead up to the reform – including migration of data for existing providers and provision of service information for new providers
  • Planned communications to home care clients after 27 February
  • Additional materials to support the sector with the changes.

Watch on the webcast page

Increasing Choice in Home Care – Operational Readiness 6 December 2016

The webinar offered advice to the sector – in particular providers - on steps to take to ensure they are prepared for the Increasing Choice in home care reforms starting on 27 February 2017.

Topics included:

  • a consolidated view of how the key changes will be put into operation in the lead up to 27 February and beyond.
  • an overview of steps the department has taken to prepare home care clients, Aged Care Assessment Teams(ACATs), the My Aged Care contact centre and providers about the changes
  • supporting materials developed to help the sector prepare.
Watch on the webcast page
Increasing Choice in Home Care – My Aged Care Service Finder functionality 21 Nov 2016

This webinar discussed the changes to the home care packages ‘Service Finder’ on My Aged Care.

It focused on:

  • understanding the new fields that will be available in the home care packages service finder from 27 February
  • navigating the ‘Service Finder’ using the new search parameters
  • navigating the ‘Service Finder’ to create a short-list of providers for comparison.
    Watch on the webcast page
    Increasing Choice in Home Care – changing providers and unspent funds 2 Nov 2016 This webinar provided an overview of the process for changing home care providers from 27 February 2017. 

    Topics covered included: 
    • consumer and provider obligations when changing providers
    • unspent funds.
    Watch on the webcast page
    Increasing Choice in Home Care - Approved Provider Requirements and Quality Provisions 6 Oct 2016 Outlined the changes to approved home care provider requirements and the associated quality provisions as a result of the Increasing Choice in home care reforms.

    Additional information also included on improvements that have been identified to the My Aged Care system as a result of co-design workshops.

    Watch on the webcast page

    Increasing Choice in Home Care - National prioritisation process for home care packages

    11 Aug 2016

    Outlined the national prioritisation process for home care, including the establishment of a national package queue in preparation for 27 February 2017 and the assignment of packages to consumers after 27 February 2017.

    Watch on the webcast page

    Increasing Choice in Home Care – February 2017 – Delegated legislation

    20 May 2016

    Covered the issues outlined in the consultation paper on the proposed changes to the delegated legislation. It also provided an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions and seek clarification.

    Watch on the webcast page

    Increasing Choice in Home Care – Stage 1 – Legislative changes

    11 March 2016

    Explained the changes set out in the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Bill 2016 and provided an opportunity for stakeholders to ask questions.

    Watch on the webcast page

    Increasing Choice in Home Care

    19 October 2015

    Outlined the proposed implementation arrangements for the February 2017 changes to home care and provided an opportunity for interested parties to ask questions.

    Watch on the webcast page

    Provider Fact Sheets

    Consumer Fact Sheets

    Quick reference documents

    Videos

    A series of videos on Home Care Packages for older people and their families

    Overview of home care packages

    This video provides an overview of home care packages from the initial screening process conducted by the My Aged Care Contact Centre through to receiving and managing your home care services. 

    Increasing consumer choice under a home care package

    This video provides some personal insights into receiving home care package services and explains some changes to increase consumer choice and flexibility about who delivers your care.

    Using the home care package service finder

    This video provides an overview of how to use the home care package service finder to find a provider that best meets your needs.

    Short videos on new data fields in the provider portal for home care packages

    Organisation Administrator Functions

    This video shows some of the data fields that an individual assigned the role of Organisation Administrator in the My Aged Care provider portal can configure for Home Care Package services.

    Outlet Administrator Functions

    This video shows some of the data fields that an individual assigned the role of Outlet Administrator in the My Aged Care provider portal can configure for Home Care Package services.

    More information

    Contact

    1 Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, Caring for Older Australians, 2011.

    2 Consultations commenced through the Department of Social Services. Responsibility for aged care moved to the Department of Health in September 2015.