Home Care National Prioritisation
The Australian Government is improving the way home care services are delivered to older Australians. From 27 February 2017, a national queue for home care will be established to prioritise access to home care packages.
The new process will allow a fairer allocation of packages nationally, based on the individual needs and circumstances of people, regardless of where they live. It will replace the current system, which can lead to variations in waiting periods for a home care package across Australia.
The Department will maintain the national queue, which determines the prioritisation of eligible clients are assigned a home care package, and an inventory of packages, which keeps track of the packages available for assignment to those clients.
How will clients be prioritised?
From 27 February 2017, clients with a home care package approval who have indicated they are seeking home care will be placed onto the national queue with an active status. A client’s place in the national queue will be determined by their priority for home care services and the date they were approved for care.
Seeking home care services
After 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. The My Aged Care contact centre is also able to change a client’s seeking/not seeking services status.
Changing a client’s seeking or not seeking services status will not require a review of the support plan nor reassessment as it is not a delegate decision, it’s the client’s preference.
Clients can at any time change their preference to seeking services at any time and won’t be disadvantaged as their place in the queue will be re-activated using their original approval date.
How will home care packages be assigned to clients?
When a client reaches the top of the national queue they will be assigned a home care package when one becomes available. From 27 February 2017, a client cannot commence receiving home care services until a package has been assigned to them.
Clients will receive a letter confirming that they have been assigned a package. This letter will include their system generated referral code and the timeframe the client has to enter into a Home Care Agreement to prevent their package being withdrawn.
The client will have 56 days from the date a package was assigned to them to enter into a Home Care Agreement with a provider. If more time is needed, an extension of 28 days (84 days in total) can be requested by calling the My Aged Care contact centre (assessors can also request this through the contact centre).
If the client has not entered into an agreement within 56 days (or 84 with the extension) the package will be withdrawn. The client will need to re-join the national queue if their package is withdrawn by calling the My Aged Care contact centre. Assessors can also place them back in the queue by changing the client’s status to seeking services. If this happens, the client won’t be disadvantaged, as their place in the queue is based on their original approval date (and priority for home care services).
Clients will have the option to indicate if they are willing to accept a package lower than their approved level, as an interim arrangement while waiting on their higher, approved package level. Assessors can discuss with clients their preferences around accepting an interim package and at what level. If a client has indicated that they are willing to accept an interim package, they will be considered for assignment of a home care package at a level lower than their approval. As a result, the client may be assigned a lower level package while waiting to receive one at their approved level.
Assessors role in coordinating interim CHSP services for clients, will not change from 27 February 2017. Further information is available in the CHSP Programme Manual on the Department’s website.
From 27 February 2017 assessors will no longer generate a referral code for home care services following their assessment. The home care referral code will automatically be generated by My Aged Care at the time of package assignment. This referral code will be included in the client’s home care package assignment letter.
Referral codes will remain the same for a client throughout their home care approval, including if they receive a package upgrade. Only the referral codes status will change depending on the client’s circumstances.
Referral codes issued before 27 February 2017 that have not been used to access a home care package by 27 February 2017 will no longer be valid. Clients will need to wait for the assignment of a home care package and the valid system generated referral code.
Key points to remember
- A new national process for prioritising access to home care will be managed by the Department.
- A client will not be able to receive subsidised home care services until they have been assigned a package by the national queue.
- Clients who have been approved for a home care package and have indicated they are seeking services will be placed onto the national queue with an active status.
- A client’s place in the national queue will be determined by their priority for home care services and the date they were approved for care.
- Clients will have the option to indicate if they are willing to accept a lower level package as an interim arrangement, while waiting for their approved level.
- Clients will have 56 days (or 84 days with the 28 day extension) to enter into a Home Care Agreement with their chosen provider.
- Assessors can request the 28 day extension on behalf of a client through the My Aged Care contact centre.
- Assessors will no longer generate a home care referral code to a client immediately following their assessment.
- Home care referral codes will be automatically generated at the time a client is assigned a package and will be included in the client’s assignment letter.
- Referral codes issued before 27 February 2017 that have not been used to access a home care package by 27 February 2017, will no longer be valid.
- A client approved for a home care package level 4 cannot receive a level 1 interim package, as the level of the client’s needs is unlikely to be supported by a level 1 package.
For further information:
- visit the department’s website; or
- subscribe to receive electronic updates; or
- call 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 changes overview
- Assessor Fact Sheet – Home Care package eligibility and assessment from 27 February 2017
This fact sheet provides general guidance to support the implementation of the Increasing Choice in Home Care reforms. It does not constitute legal advice, nor is it a substitute for responsibilities under the legislative framework.