The first stage of the new reforms to home care, as announced in the 2015-16 federal budget, The Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Increasing Consumer Choice) Act 2016 was passed in the parliament on March 3rd 2017.
Now, as of 27th February, the first stage has commenced, allowing consumers to choose a provider that is best suited to their needs and to direct the funding to that provider. The new reforms also allows consumers to change their provider if they wish, which means they can now easily switch providers if they move to another area. This is something that has been quite problematic until this change in legislation. In providing support to my clients who are searching for the most suitable aged care facility I know that circumstances can change and a resident may need to move to another area which, until now, has often been quite traumatic as funding may stop for a period during the transition.
The reforms have been well received by consumers as they will improve the way that home care services are delivered to older Australians. The reforms will be implemented in two stages, the second stage moves towards a more integrated care at home system, with consultation within the sector on these reforms. The government states that “There will be a consistent national approach to prioritizing access to home care through the My Aged Care gateway.” and that these changes will constitute a fairer and more flexible way of distributing packages to consumers, based on their individual needs and circumstances, wherever they live. I look forward to seeing the results of this future, more consumer-driven aged care system that will be market-based and less regulated. Hopefully, it will help my clients as they search for suitable accommodation and services to support them to enjoy their senior years.