The performance of home care and Home and Community Care (HACC) organisations against the service standards varied between jurisdictions last financial year, according to a Productivity Commission report released yesterday.
The previously unpublished data also showed that the proportion of quality reviews that met all expected outcomes was higher for the Home Care Packages Program and National Respite for Carers Program than HACC, across all three standards.
All home care services and HACC (now Commonwealth Home Support Program) providers are required to undergo a quality review at least once every three years. Responsibility for quality reviews in community aged care transferred from the Department of Social Services to the Aged Care Quality Agency on 1 July 2014.
According to the report, the number of completed home care reviews (HCP and HACC) fell from 1,166 in 2013-2014 to 712 in 2014-2015.
Compared with previous reports, the 2016 Report on Government Services also does not include data on the number of quality reviews targeted for completion in that financial year. This indicator monitored the extent to which providers were being reviewed over a three year cycle.
According to the report, overall performance against the standards by HCP and NRCP organisations improved on the previous year. Standard one – effective management – was met by 86 per cent of reviewed organisations last financial year compared with 67.2 per cent in 2013-2014.
Standard two – appropriate access and service delivery – was achieved in 88 per cent of reviews compared with 74.6 per cent the year before and standard three – service user rights and responsibilities – was met by 97.4 per cent of reviews up from 85.5 per cent.
Performance varied across states and territories. In the NT, only 38.5 per cent of reviews (12) were compliant with all expected outcomes under standard two. In SA, the result was 100 per cent for the 14 reviews conducted.
Compliance with service standards for HACC services was not as strong as the HCP program. Nationally 82.1 per cent of HACC reviews met all outcomes under standard one, 83.2 per cent for standard two and 93.4 per cent satisfied all requirements under standard three.
The Quality Agency has said it wants to establish industry-wide performance benchmarks for home care services.
Delay in accessing care
Elsewhere, the report found 58.6 per cent of people approved by an Aged Care Assessment Team for home care last financial year started receiving care within three months, which was slightly down on the previous year.
Expenditure on home care and support services amounted to $4.1 billion in 2014-2015, which included expenditure of $2.3 billion on HACC, $1.3 billion on Home Care and $220.7 million on the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) community nursing and Veterans’ Home Care (VHC).
The annual Report on Government Services provides information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia. It said a priority in future performance reporting is to develop performance indicators relevant to the aged care reforms.
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