Just 25% of home care providers have reported an increase in their number of packages since Consumer Directed Care (CDC) was introduced on February 27, according to a new survey released by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA).
Only 25% of providers had also accepted a new client from the national queue, despite the Government awarding 30,000 packages during the same time.
The survey, which looked at 73 LASA members who provide home care packages (over 10% of providers and packages nationally) in the eight-week period following the reforms, found 58.4% of clients had left their provider.
42.7% had moved to a higher package while another 33% had clients change to them from a different provider – an early sign that the competition promised by CDC is increasing.
However, LASA warns that if the decline in the take-up of packages continues, it could be “detrimental” to providers’ resources and services.
They are calling on the Government to put strategies in place to help consumers who may be struggling to activate their packages to cut the number of days between packages being assigned and activated.
Under CDC, packages are now assigned to consumers through a national queue managed through MyAgedCare, meaning providers no longer have access to a consumer’s information after they are approved to accept a package.
This only happens now if the consumer actively reaches out to the provider in their research.
While the Dept of Health has informed LASA that it will publish information on the national queue and home care package movements in the second half of 2017, the peak body wants this brought forward for immediate release and provided on a quarterly, if not monthly, basis.
LASA also recommends information be made available to home care providers on:
- How many of the 30,000 packagers have gone to new consumers?
- How many have been activated? How many days have there been between package assignment and activation?
- For packages assigned but not activated, how many were declined by consumers or withdrawn by MyAgedCare? How many days did they sit inactive before being reassigned to the queue?
- Where are the 30,000 packages located? And where are the activated ones located?
LASA also wants the Dept to investigate consumers’ experience of the new process using a sample of packages activated/not activated during the first eight weeks to identify how to better support consumers.
They say the Dept should put in place a strategy to follow up with all consumers assigned a package and offer liaison support if they are struggling to activate it.
You can read the full report here.