The Department of Health has told a Senate estimates hearing last week it intends to release the second round of home care package data in mid-November.

The second quarterly report will contain data relating to the national home care prioritisation system and queue until 30 September.

The sector is eagerly awaiting data on the take-up of packages under the new system, which was omitted from the first report.

The report will also provide updated figures on the size of the national home care package queue, which totalled 89,000 at 30 June.

17,000 lower level packages to be removed

At the hearing, department officials also revealed that the government’s commitment to convert lower level packages into 6,000 level 3s and 4s will result in 17,000 fewer low level packages.

In response to size of the national queue, Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt announced in September the government would support sector calls to boost the availability of level 3 and 4 packages.

Changing the mix of available home care packages to better meet demand was also a recommendation of the Tune Review.

At 30 June, 67,000 older people nationally were waiting to receive a level 3 or 4 package.

Fiona Buffinton, from the department’s aged care access and quality division, told Senate estimates the additional high-level packages were rolling out to consumers via the national prioritisation process.

“We are now increasing the offer of level 3 and level 4 packages and that will be going over the next few months,” she said.

The annual subsidy for a level 4 package is $50,000 compared with $8,000 for a level 1 package and $15,000 for a level 2.

In making the decision to reallocate packages to the high end, Ms Buffinton said the government took into account vacancy rates for the lower level packages.

The department could not confirm precisely how many of the 6,000 additional high level packages had been released but said the intention was to roll them out “fairly quickly.”

The measure is budget neutral.

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  1. Just get rid of level one which are useless, increase level 2 subsidy by 50% so it is viable and there wouldn’t be so many wanting level 3 & 4. The big reason so many want high level is because level 2 has lost so much purchasing power over last 15 years. Go back to 2 levels, low and high with level 2 subsidy 40-50% of level 4. Everyone else should access CHSP.

  2. unfortunately people are waiting 3 months for an ACAT ,then more time for approval ,followed by more time before a package is assigned.

    the wait is so long that entry to a residential facility is needed before the package can be organized.

    In some cases death has arrived very quickly.

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