For anyone working in the aged care sector the 27th February 2017 was a huge day in aged care services history. It signified the beginning of portability for Home Care Packages. For consumers, it was just another day of navigating a ‘confused’ aged care system.
The Aged Care Reform announced in the 2015-2016 budget created milestones for significant changes in the way aged care services were to be delivered in Australia. The milestone change in February was that Government funded in home aged care services became portable. This meant funding for home care and support services would be allocated to individuals instead of service providers which was the previous way Government Funding was handled.
This empowered aged care consumers with the choice of which provider they wished to use. Aged care funding is now prioritised, allocated and accessible and managed via one streamlined national system (ie: My Aged Care) facilitating equity in access for aged care services for both metropolitan and regional consumers.
With these changes it allows aged care consumers and their families or designated representatives to select a provider from a list of ‘Approved Aged Care Providers’ at www.myagedcare.gov.au.
After selecting a preferred service provider you are also able to choose different levels of engagement in the management of your funding. These options are:
1. Self Managed: You oversee the planning and implementation of your funding through your selected service providers. In this instance you have the option to fully manage your services and recruit service providers. The caveat is that these service providers must meet the requirements of the Home Care Package Guidelines. You need to understand how the system works and what rights and responsibilities you have as a consumer.
2. Shared Management: Combination of management and administration by you and the preferred service provider. The allocations of roles can generally be negotiated with the service provider.
3. Full Management: Full management and administration of the funding in consultation with you as the care recipient, your family or designated representative. (Usually your next of kin). In this option the service providers will generally charge a higher percentage of your ‘funds allocation’ to case management and administration.
Making such decisions can be daunting with the abundance of information available along with the numerous services available to choose from. Having an unbiased professional guide your journey can facilitate a smooth, stress free process.