The government will review whether it is necessary to tighten registration requirements for home care providers following allegations of price-gouging, non-compliance with standards and pushy sales techniques.
Aged care minister Ken Wyatt said the government will “weed out” unscrupulous providers and warned that some could expect sanctions.
He was commenting on reports by the ABC that 14 home care providers had been served non-compliance notices since July and three had been sanctioned.
“I have no sympathy for those that have been sanctioned because they know what’s expected of them and we will weed out those people,” Mr Wyatt told the 7.30 Report on Tuesday.
“I think we will be seeing more who will be sanctioned.”
Price gouging of senior Australians was totally unacceptable, he said, and if the regulatory system wasn’t working the government tighten it.
“If there’s a problem with the way we are doing it then we will make changes.”
COTA CEO Ian Yates told the 7.30 Report that a lack of transparency had allowed some unscrupulous operators to get away with bad behaviour and the near-doubling of home care businesses to 900 since 2016 had resulted in more “aggressive” tactics by some operators.
“We have seen some door-to-door sales and have referred those the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission,” he said.
LASA’s Sean Rooney said the home care market was “dynamic” but people with complaints should make these known to providers and relevant bodies, including the new Aged Care Quality Commission which began operations on January 2.
The government this week announced that the rollout of 10,000 new home care packages had commenced and would be completed by July. However Mr Wyatt told the ABC COTA’s proposed three-month limit on HCP wait times was not achievable in the immediate future.
“In the long term governments will strive to achieve that,” he said.
The Home Care Packages Program Data Report for the first quarter from July 1 to September 30, released released in November, showed 126,732 people were waiting for a package that matched their needs.