Are you aware of the new changes to Home Care Agreements commencing 1 July 2019?

21 June 2019
Sabine Phillips, Partner, Melbourne

Under the new Pricing Principles, home care providers are required to publish the prices of the most common services and costs under their Home Care Packages in a standardised Schedule on the My Aged Care website.

This must be done by 1 July 2019, and is intended to allow consumers to better understand and compare home care pricing information.

 

Changes to Home Care Agreements

In addition to prescribing the publication of a pricing Schedule, the Pricing Principles require home care providers to:

  • Print and include a copy of the pricing Schedule in each consumer’s Home Care Agreement;
  • Charge consumers the same prices for care and services as those contained in the pricing Schedule in their Home Care Agreement;
  • Hold discussions with consumers where it is necessary to charge different amounts for services than those contained within their pricing Schedule;
    • In the limited circumstances that this may occur, providers must mutually agree this different amount with consumers, and detail the amended price and reason for its change within the consumer’s Home Care Agreement
  • Change their existing administration charging practices, so that business-related costs are no longer charged separately under their Home Care Agreements;
    • This means that any package management costs and business costs must be reviewed, and must not exceed a ‘reasonable amount’; and
  • Express all prices as dollar values, and not percentages.

These changes must be implemented by 1 July 2019 for new home care consumers, and by 1 July 2020 for existing home care consumers.

 

Charter of Aged Care Rights

In addition to the Pricing Principles, the User Rights Amendment (Charter of Aged Care Rights) Principles 2019 become operational on 1 July 2019, and incorporate the four previous Charters relating to the rights of aged care recipients into one single Charter.

Home care service providers must give a signed copy of the new Charter of Aged Care Rights to consumers. Importantly, consumers must be provided with assistance to understand the Charter before the consumer or their authorised representative is given a reasonable opportunity to sign it.

These changes must be implemented by 1 July 2019 for all new consumers, and by 31 December 2019 for all existing consumers.

 

How can we assist you?

The Department will be actively monitoring provider compliance with these new requirements, and it is essential that providers ensure their Home Care Agreements are updated to comply with the new legislative provisions to avoid any compliance action.

Our Home Care Agreement has been created to ensure it is compliant with the new legislative requirements, is accessible to consumers, and is easy to read. We include flowcharts and diagrams to ensure that key information is distinguished for consumers.


If you have any questions regarding the legislative changes, or our new Home Care Agreement, please contact Sabine Phillips on (03) 9252 7720, or Tamie Duncan-Bible on (03) 9252 2575.

Authored by:

Sabine Phillips, Partner

Tamie Duncan-Bible, Associate

Abigail Gedge, Paralegal

This update does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. It is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and it is not intended to be comprehensive. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the content.

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