Compton calls for review of ‘repugnant’ home care admin fees

Government and aged care stakeholders need to take “a real look” at the delivery of home care packages as too much money is being taken by providers in the administration of services, the former chair of National Seniors has said.

Everald Compton
Everald Compton

Government and aged care stakeholders need to take “a real look” at the delivery of home care packages as too much money is being taken by providers in the administration of services, the former chair of National Seniors has said.

Everald Compton, chair of the Longevity Forum and former head of the government’s Advisory Panel on Positive Ageing, said that “great hierarchies” of administration had been created within major aged care providers.

“I find it quite repugnant that a third of a package goes towards the administration of the service. That should not happen,” Mr Compton told aged care providers at the Leading Age Services Australia national congress last week.

“We need to alter that because older people on packages simply aren’t getting the benefits that they should,” he said.

At the most, 10 per cent of a home care package should be spent on the administration and delivery of the service, Mr Compton said.

His comments come amidst increasing concern over the administration fees charged to home care clients.

Last month Tasmanian independent MP Andrew Wilkie accused community care providers of charging their clients excessive administration fees on a scale that amounts to “systemic rorting” of government subsidies.

Mr Wilkie told Federal Parliament that he had received many complaints from older people and their families about “ridiculous administrative costs” being levied on consumers (read that story here).

Earlier this month Community Care Review reported that fees topped the list of home care complaints to the new Aged Care Complaints Commissioner in the first six months of 2016 (read that story here).

Consumer peak body Alzheimer’s Australia has previously proposed that the government introduce a cap on the administration fees providers could charge and for all admin charges to be published on My Aged Care.

Aged care provider peak bodies have told CCR they are strongly opposed to any proposals to cap administration fees, saying these charges should be market-based.

They argue that administration costs vary among providers based on several factors, including location, and they reject the claim that excessive fees are widespread, saying the majority of home care organisations provide affordable, quality services.

In 2015, a government commissioned evaluation of consumer directed care showed that on average providers were taking 27 per cent of a consumer’s subsidy in administration and case management fees. Average figures ranged from 29 per cent for a Level 1 and 3 package, to 21 per cent for a Level 4 package.

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Tags: administration-charges, everald-compton, home-care-packages, lasa-congress,

8 thoughts on “Compton calls for review of ‘repugnant’ home care admin fees

  1. I understand the need to keep fees to a minimum – but the reality is the cost of clinical governance, training, staff supervision, financial reporting etc is the costs exceed the arbitrary 10% figure suggested by Mr Compton. Most organisations (and people working and leading those organisations) are focused on delivering great service to their clients and are working hard to reduce costs without affecting that service. While there will always be outliers, I am not sure we are helping anyone by continuing to run stories that beat up on hard working people motivated by helping others.

  2. 10% admin fees are fine. It’s the “case management” fees that are appalling.
    My partner, who has Young Onset Dementia, loses more than a third of her CDC budget.
    Until recently, the “case management” amounted to a quick visit to see if anything had changed, and a signoff on a document that was useless to all, including V’s careworkers and me….eg ” in case of emergency ensure client has canned food”!!!

  3. Until the caps on home care packages are removed and older adults with high care needs are able to: (i) access a Level 3 or 4 package as approved; and (ii) select a provider on the basis of comprehensive and transparent information about services and fees; they will continue to voice their concerns through traditional complaint mechanisms.

  4. I agree with Mr. Compton wholeheartedly, however believe that administration Fees are the only option available for Communty Providers to remain in a competitive market driven Aged Care Sector. The advent of Consomer Directed Care with funds being in the consumers control , whilst in essence a transparent & righful decision has removed any viability for Providers to function in a business model .
    In theory consumer directed care was supposedly going to deliver services directly to the client giving them choice & control over how wish to use their funds. In reality relationships between provider & client have been driven to that of delivery of a product in a highly competitive market. This has not benefitted the consumer at all , rather it has created a system where older people have not gained any autonomy or control over their care but rather fallen victim to the misappropriation of their funds.

  5. The hourly rate charged for homecare is also skewed. My mother’s provider charges slightly under $60/hr for her care. I asked the care worker how much she was paid per hour, which was slightly less than $25/hr.

    The provider takes more than half the fee-for-service, on top of the steep admin and case management fees.

    If we could use the funding for external/independent care workers, mother could access more than double the hours of care.

    More than 60% of the government funds allocated for my mother’s home care goes directly to the provider on non-service oriented charges.

    I would prefer to have a service & equipment debit card, even if the funds were reduced by 25%, as this would translate into over 300% more service access.

  6. As a service provider who was not the fund holder but the preferred provider- we were able to negotiate on behalf of the customer with the approved provider/fund holder and get reduction of 20% in the admin and case management fee, as long as the family were happy to self manage some of the care.

    The aged care sector needs to wake up and look at what is happening in disability sector with the introduction of the NDIS. Hourly care for home care/personal care is capped at just under $42.00. And that has to include admin fees.

    Aged care providers need to pull their head out of the sand if they think they will be able to continue to charge $60.00/ hour.

    Price caps may be just around the corner for aged care.

  7. With the changes coming in Feb 2017 I’m interested in seeing if it’s possible to make home care more customer oriented.

  8. Hi all, just wondering whether any of you had experience of service providers charging an “admin fee” for processing an invoice for payment of equipment. My relative’s mother was charged 15% on top of payment for a hospital bed to process that invoice. I don’t believe that it is a fair admin cost and will be taking it to the Aged Care Commissioner.

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