The move towards home care providers being paid in arrears instead of in advance is a step closer with the Senate inquiry investigating the two bills recommending they get the go-ahead.
Chaired by Liberal Senator Wendy Askew, the report supports the two-phase approach for the introduction of the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 1) Bill 2020 (Bill No. 1) and Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Improved Home Care Payment Administration No. 2) Bill 2020 (Bill No. 2) which will see:
- Phase 1 will start on 1 February 2021: Subsidies and supplements will be paid monthly in arrears, with no change to how providers hold or manage unspent funds.
- Phase 2 will start on 1 September 2021: Subsidies and supplements will be paid monthly in arrears only for actual services provided, with unspent funds to be held by the Commonwealth Government.
As we reported here, providers that are financially viable should have no issue with the new arrangements but there are concerns that those lacking liquidity could end up facing insolvency.
But the report concludes that the Department of Health is already identifying and contacting home care providers which will be eligible for $21 million in transition support funding announced in the 2020–21 Budget, and provides business advisory services to aged care providers concerned about their ongoing viability.
“The committee recognises that business advisory supports are already available to providers who have concerns about their viability under the new arrangements and that the Department of Health has begun to identify providers which will require additional transition support,” it states.