RC report signals crackdown on home care providers

The federal government will immediately move to tighten oversight of the home care packages program, with 500 providers to be audited each year.

Health Minister Greg Hunt says home care providers are badly in need of increased oversight and has foreshadowed increased regulatory requirements in response to the final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

He announced the government will immediately move to tighten oversight of the home care packages program, with 500 providers to be audited each year.

Speaking at the release of the report on Monday, Mr Hunt said the audits will crack down on “unjustified” administrative charges.

“In terms of home care we will immediately act on transparency in fees, and commence an audit program of over 500 providers per year,” he told reporters.

Health minister Greg Hunt foreshadows a crack down on home care providers at the release of the aged care royal commission’s report (image via ABC)

Mr Hunt says home care providers must ensure that delivery of care, rather than administrative fees, make up the lion’s share of costs to consumers.

 “Enhancing oversight of the delivery of home care packages will lead to more care and services going directly to care recipients and reduce the potential for fraud in the system,” he said.

The government will also implement a “a new quality control system within home care”, Mr Hunt said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after a two year investigation and 10,500 submissions, the royal commission had set out a five year roadmap for generational change across the centre, and the government had responded with $452 million immediate response package.

The eight-volume report contains 148 recommendations.

“The royal commission has now set out a very important roadmap which I think will establish generational change in this country,” he told reporters.

Regulation of home care ‘underdeveloped’

Commissioners Lynelle Briggs and Tony Pagone found there has been a rapid expansion in home care providers, with limited scrutiny of their suitability.

 “The oversight of home care is particularly underdeveloped,” the commissioners write.

Regulation of home care is particularly inadequate, overly concerned with process and lacking safeguards for older people, they say, and call for it to be urgently addressed.

The report says quality is inadequately measured and notes there are still no quality indicators for home care.

The quality of life of consumers also needs to be monitored, the commissioners say.

The need for oversight of serious incidents in home settings will increase as more people receive aged care in their homes for longer.

Report of the Aged Care Royal Commission

They say a proposed Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health and Aged Care should develop suite of quality indicators for care in the home.

“This should include a quality of life assessment tool for people receiving aged care,” they say.

The report recommends that all providers of subsidised aged care services should be required to be approved, and all providers of high-level home care should be accredited.

It notes that CHSP providers aren’t currently approved, unlike HCP providers, and the proposed integration of CHSP and the HCP will need “new approval arrangements to be put in place”.

The report notes that home care services are subject to a quality review at least once every three years, but at last June, 159 approved providers had never had a quality review conducted.

Home care services that provide care management, personal care or clinical care should be regulated, the report says.

The new Serious Incident Response Scheme must be extended to cover allegations of certain serious involving aged care workers.

“The need for oversight of serious incidents in home settings will increase as more people receive aged care in their homes for longer,” the commissioners say.

Read the full report here.

Comment on the story below. Follow Community Care Review on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and sign up to our newsletter.

Tags: aged-care-royal-commission, featured, Greg-Hunt, home-care, royal commission into aged care quality and safety,

2 thoughts on “RC report signals crackdown on home care providers

  1. “The quality of life of consumers also needs to be monitored, the commissioners say.”

    The focus should be on measuring the quality of the delivery of services by the Provider.

    The quality of life of a recipient of a HCP is largely influenced by the quality of service delivered by the provider.

    The word Provider should be changed to something that more honestly reflects reality. They do not provide – they facilitate, manage or distribute. The taxpayer via the government provides. The misuse of the term ‘provider’ enables many of them to adopt an attitude of superiority to the recipient. This is often manifested in condescension and manipulation by disingenuous fake rhetoric. Such tactics are used to steer the recipient away from discovering or focusing on the exorbitant and hidden charges. They think that they have the right to do this because they ‘provide’. Words can be powerful.

    I am aware there are some genuine people in the industry but the stories abound about many who should not be associated with delivering government funded or any services to the aged.

    Let’s hope the proposed reforms will outlaw people of this calibre.

  2. I just saw on the news today that many older people may die before getting an HCP package because of lack of workers. I think there can be adjustments made. I have quite a few clients that can manage without a package, but because it takes so long to get one, they get their foot in the door early. This means there are those on packages that don’t really need them yet, and others who can’t get one who need them. If it was easier and quicker for people to get onto a package they may be prepared to wait until really needed. This frees up resources for those who do need. I dont blame people at the moment for getting their foot in the door, and advise them to do so, – for the same reasons – when you need it you will have a long wait, so get onto a level 1 and from there it is easier to upgrade. This situation is a very convoluted way of managing the system.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *