Aged care minister Ken Wyatt has written to home care providers reminding them they will be required to participate in a pricing comparison table on the My Aged Care website from mid next year.

It will also become mandatory for them to publish their pricing schedules on the portal’s Home Care Package Service Finder.

The moves are designed to increase transparency and help older Australians better assess costs so they can make an informed choice about their home provider, Mr Wyatt told Aged and Community Services Australia.

The measures are expected to come into force from June 2019 and October 2018 respectively.

ACSA CEO Pat Sparrow welcomed any measures that would support older Australians and their families in aged care choices. But she said the information had to be fair for providers and clear for consumers.

“Providers need to be able to shape and price their services to offer choice and variety for older Australians without an overly prescriptive approach to regulation.

ACSA will work with its members to make sure any new measures allow them to continue to do what they do best: supporting older Australians.”

In a letter to the peak aged care services body, and to home care providers, Mr Wyatt also asked providers to immediately publish their current pricing schedules on the service finder or provide a link to pricing schedules.

According to the health department, only 15 per cent of home care providers have published pricing on My Aged Care and less than half (40 per cent) have provided a link.

The department would undertake a co-design process later this year so clients can compare the single unit costs of common care package services.

Mr Wyatt also warned providers he would be closely monitoring administrative costs following complaints about excessive charges.

The federal government announced a greater transparency for aged care in the 2018-19 budget, saying it would publish performance ratings of residential service providers on the My Aged Care website, together with a tool to compare providers, from July 2020.

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1 Comment

  1. While the intent is right, I think there is some flawed perspective about transparency of costs within a HCP environment. Yes, older people and their families will be better able to assess costs. However, support for older Australians goes beyond costs. Some HCP providers work with older Australians who have mental illness and addictions. The cost of care hardly compares with the challenges of caring for these 2 groups yet we work really hard to provide care and support, sometimes where family are absent. How do you cost the abuse of workers or other staff? Yes, costs can be published but not all older Australians pay the BDF even if they should pay. Some of that reduction or removal of the BDF may be the outcome of advocacy as a result of acknowledging the circumstances of that older Australian.

    So price may be important for some or most in that decision-making about a provider, but think about how you, as an older Australian, is valued, validated, supported and educated beyond service tasks to possibly live a better life despite health and care challenges. To focus on cost is to reduce care to a fiscal exchange only. Care is more than about instrumental tasks!

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