Home Care changes overview
The Australian Government is improving the way home care services are delivered to older Australians. These changes are important for a sustainable and quality aged care system that is more consumer driven, market-based and less regulated.
What is changing
From 27 February 2017, home care packages will change in three main ways:
1. Funding will follow the consumer
Home care package funding will follow the consumer, allowing them to choose and direct package funding to a provider that best meets their needs. This replaces the current system where home care places are allocated directly to Approved Providers.
2. Access to home care packages
A consistent national system for prioritising access to home care will be established and managed by the Department. The way clients are prioritised will take account of the date they were approved for home care (their time spent waiting) and their relative needs and circumstances. This will allow for a more equitable and flexible distribution of packages, regardless of a where a client lives.
3. Reduced red-tape for providers
The process for becoming an approved provider will be streamlined. Once approved provider status has been granted it will no longer lapse, whether the approval is for home care, residential care or flexible care.
Key Changes for Assessors
The key changes for assessors from 27 February 2017 are:
- Assessors will need to recommend eligible home care clients at a specific package level (e.g. home care package level 1, 2, 3 or 4). This replaces the current arrangement of approving home care packages at broadband levels (1/2 or 3/4).
- Assessors will need to recommend the client’s priority for home care services to the delegate for approval.
- Assessors will need to record if a client is actively seeking services and include this in their client record.
- Assessors will need to record if a client is willing to be assigned a lower level package as an interim arrangement while waiting for a home care package at their approved level.
- Assessors can select to receive notifications through the My Aged Care assessor portal for clients identified as potentially needing extra support to the point of effective referral.
- Referral codes will be automatically generated by the system when a client is assigned a home care package and will be included in the client’s package assignment letter. This replaces the current arrangement where assessors issue a referral code following a client’s assessment.
What is NOT changing
- The screening and referral process for assessment.
- A client’s approved package level must be reflective of their care needs at the time of assessment.
- Determining eligibility using the National Screening and Assessment Form (NSAF).
- The NSAF.
- Approving eligibility for more than one care type (e.g. home care, STRC, residential care etc.) where appropriate.
- The client’s right to seek a review of their assessment outcome. However, from 27 February 2017 clients will also be able to seek a review of their priority for home care services.
Key points to remember
- Client eligibility will continue to be determined by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) through a comprehensive assessment using the NSAF.
- From 27 February 2017, assessors will need to assess eligible home care clients at a specific package level (i.e. home care package level 1, 2, 3 or 4).
- From 27 February 2017, assessors will need to recommend a client’s priority for home care services (medium or high) to the delegate for approval.
- From 27 February 2017, assessors will need to record if a client is seeking home care services when recommending a home care package for delegate approval.
- A client will not be able to receive subsidised home care services for home care packages until they have been assigned a package by the national queue.
- Assessors will no longer generate a home care referral code to a client following their assessment. Home care referral codes will be automatically generated by My Aged Care at the time the national system assigns the client a package.
For further information:
- visit the department’s website; or
- subscribe to receive electronic updates; or
- all the My Aged Care service provider and assessor helpline on 1800 836 799.
- ACAT Short Course Material
- ACAT Guidance Framework for Home Care Package Level
- User Guide: ACAT Guidance Framework for Home Care Package Level
- Guidance on Priority for Home Care Services
- QRG13 – Management of Home Care Packages from 27 February 2017
- Assessor Fact Sheet – Client information and support
- Assessor Fact Sheet – Home Care national prioritisation process
- Assessor Fact Sheet – Home Care package eligibility and assessment from 27 February 2017