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Minister raises concerns with CDC transition

Assistant Minister for Social Services Mitch Fifield has criticised some home care providers for failing to make the transition to consumer directed care early enough, reminding providers they had three years to prepare for the changes and address the loss of the ability to cross subsidise clients.

However, industry peak body Leading Age Services Australia has hit back saying government had failed to adequately support providers through the transition process.

Senator Fifield said there was an expectation that providers would transition people over time as consumers left packages, however this has not happened in all cases and some consumers were only now coming to grips with how their budget and care might be impacted in the move to individual funding.

“The previous government, when they first started the initial CDC packages, gave providers three years’ notice to regularise arrangements. Given the average length of time a person is on a package is a bit under two years, that meant there was the opportunity for providers…to make that adjustment without affecting individuals,” he said.

“What is becoming increasingly clear is that not all providers have done what they should have done over that period…so that’s disappointing.”

LASA CEO Patrick Reid said it was wrong to suggest providers have not prepared themselves for the changes, when transition assistance from the government had been lacking.

“There hasn’t been enough support for providers to be ready and some of them are struggling with the changes required, yet we don’t see any more assistance coming from government apart from a telephone service and a website,” he said.

Responding to some consumer concerns about a shortfall in care under CDC, Senator Fifield announced any home care client that has been told they will be worse off under consumer directed care could ask the Department of Social Services to review their package.

The Minister said the department would also make sure providers were “doing the right thing” and will scrutinise the administration charges of providers to ensure that clients were receiving the full value of their package.

“I’ve heard of some examples where there are administration charges of up to 40 per cent, which strikes me as peculiar and not acceptable,” said Senator Fifield.

Mr Reid agreed excessive administration charges should be investigated but said no evidence had been put to the peak body to suggest unreasonable administration costs were a serious concern.

He said administration fees included in a client’s statement often included case management and contingency funds, which were now transparent to the consumer.

As part of a client case review, Senator Fifield said the department could also make a decision as to whether a higher level package is allocated to the provider to meet the needs of the client.

In cases where a consumer’s care needs can’t be met using their package budget, the department has advised providers to consider reassessing a client for a higher level package, topping up services with consumer funds or moving a client to residential care.

Individual budgets under consumer directed care has ended a common industry practice whereby providers have cross subsidised high needs clients with funds allocated to another individual.

However providers have argued that cross subsidisation was necessary for clients requiring higher level services but were unable to access a level three or level four package, due to limited vacancies at the high-needs end.

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4 Responses to Minister raises concerns with CDC transition

  1. Terina Edwards June 3, 2015 at 2:11 pm #

    Although selected providers have had the information for three years, the majority of providers for home support only got access to the draft manual at the beginning of May. Whilst there was a lot of rhetoric given about what will happen, no clear information was given until last month. I think the Minister and the Government in general is very unrealistic about how long it takes for an entire system to change. There still are no final release of the manual or nationals fees policy and there will not be until the day before it starts. The draft national fees policy did not contain information about fees for groups such as social support group so how it is possible for providers to work out their fees, inform their clients, change the paper work and so on. Realistically speaking many smaller providers do not have the capacity to change as fast as the larger organisations with more resources will have. I still think that Ministers have little idea what really goes on in the field and it all looks good on paper but in practice everyone has little clear idea about what is expected. Giving us the final manual and national fees policy the day before the transition occurs is unrealistic and totally inappropriate. We need at least three months to digest the final version and then implement it. Have a look at the process before you start criticizing those who have no choice but to implement it.

  2. Barbara Macleod June 3, 2015 at 3:47 pm #

    When an organization submits an application to become an Approved Provider with DSS or DHA they must demonstrate that their key/responsible personal have industry experience, relevant knowledge and skills and that they have the capability and capacity to manage the CDC package allocation.

    Why then are so many Approved Providers not able to understand or have the ability to complete the transition? I agree, not acceptable….

    So after two years of government they jump on the band wagon asserting ‘the Government has not given us enough assistance’. Where are the key/responsible personal or the business intelligence???

    They have a business to run with changes required by the funder s if they fail to meet the transitioning from the old to the new model, then, to me, they are not qualified to be a Approved Provider.

    The Minister is ‘spot on’ with the statement that ‘providers are not doing the right thing by the consumer’. They are taking up to 40% off the top of the consumers entitled Home care funding then providing scare services with most likely quality being compromised…..
    An absolute Debacle!!! Please bring July 1, 2017 forward Mr Minister ASAP before some serious neglect issue’s raise their face!

  3. Tanya Southworth June 5, 2015 at 11:36 am #

    Instead of pointing and making blame we need to look at how we assist and support providers through a fundamental and philosophical restructure. Over the last few years the Aged Care Workforce Innovation Network (WIN)had just enough funding to support 220 aged care providers across Australia through the reform and redesign of their business model to meet the challenges. To do this WIN operated at local, regional and national levels to create a coalition to support the change and build capacity for the benefit of Australia. Looking at the context it’s not just government CDC reform the providers are navigating. There is also pressures of unprecedented growth due to an ageing population, new community expectations with a big shift to ageing at home, integration of new technologies, and changing workforce requirements. The WIN found that all providers were willing and able to step up to these many challenges when they were given support through WIN and targeted resources. To expect service providers to tackle these changes on their own is unrealistic and dare I say ‘un- Australian’. I commend LASA and Patrick Reid’s strategy and applaud ACSA and John Kelly’s continued focus on advocating for aged care service providers. Instead of pointing blame, let’s work together and help aged care providers who deserve all our support.

  4. Lyn H June 5, 2015 at 11:54 am #

    I have serious concerns re the disconnect that appears to exist between the Govt., the approved providers and the people who receive the services. There has been so much conflicting information, so many areas not covered adequately by the Govt. and so much impact on the service users.

    I am not sure you are fully informed Barbara – its a debacle at best !

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