Home care providers are working to determine how much it costs to participate in the quality review process in a consumer directed care (CDC) environment so that cost can be accurately passed on to the client.
The new Australian Aged Care Quality Agency takes over responsibility of quality reviews for home care from 1 July, after which reviews could take place at the approved provider’s premises or in the client’s home.
As Australian Ageing Agenda reported on Wednesday, the question of cost was raised at this week’s Tri-State conference. Subsequently, a spokesperson for the Department of Social Services (DSS) has confirmed to AAA that costs associated with participating in the quality review process were expected to be included in the administration component of an individualised budget under CDC.
Leading Age Services Victoria president Ingrid Williams said LASA Victoria was planning to undertake a cost assessment through its community care taskforce.
“The issue of cost recovery for providers and additional administration burden needs to be resolved in advance of all existing packages becoming CDC from 1 July 2015,” Ms Williams told AAA.
The possible contentious issue was around variations to the existing processes under DSS as the Quality Agency assumed responsibility for home care, she said.
“These may be positive variations for consumers and for providers in relation to ensuring that the quality of care and compliance with standards are captured during the review process. However, if they cost more than has been factored into existing processes then the administration component of the individual budgets will increase and funds available for care will decrease,” Ms Williams said.
Similarly, CEO of South Australian provider Helping Hand, Ian Hardy, said his organisation was currently working to put a figure on quality review costs as part of budget preparations to ensure the administrative charge accurately reflected anticipated costs for these and other indirect service costs.
The cost has to be passed on consumers in full because good business practice requires all costs of a program to be covered by its income, he said.
“Regrettably, of course, those costs, relatively small as they will be in the overall picture, will be drawn from the total funds available to clients for their care choices. We would hope that DSS may recognise this impost and consider an appropriate level of compensation,” Mr Hardy said.
The CEO of community care franchise business Just Better Care, Trish Noakes, agreed costs associated with quality reviews had to be passed on to the client.
“It will be in your hourly rate. It has to be because there has to be a true cost,” Ms Noakes said.
She said while it was likely that most organisations were not currently aware of how much it cost them, possibly as a result of cost shifting practices, they were now at the stage where they would have to examine true costs, as well as their current practices.
“In a very price sensitive market place where families will shop around and see how much you charge on an hourly basis for this and that, it will be imperative that organisations are running really efficiently,” she said.
And if we see more self-directed care where people say they don’t want any case management in favour of doing it themselves, the administration money will disappear, making efficiency more important, she said.