Aged care assessments are soon to be put to tender and there are concerns about potential conflicts of interest arising from assessors aligned with single organisations or modes of care.
As a Placement Consultant I was very interested in claims made by HelloCare magazine that voices in the industry have raised concerns with them that conflicts of interest may mean vulnerable older people miss out on the care they need.
According to the Department of health website “Under the new arrangements, a single assessment workforce and a network of assessment organisations will assess eligibility for access to all government-funded aged care services. The new single assessment workforce will replace the two current assessment workforces:
- the Regional Assessment Service (RAS)
- Aged Care Assessment Teams (ACATs).”
The Health Department states that under this new arrangement assessments will be quicker, enabling older Australians to access Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) services, Home Care Packages and residential care faster.
Assessment organisations will be selected through a national tender process which will take place in 2020. The new arrangement will come into effect in April 2021.
The concerns raised are that assessors may be tempted to refer customers only to their own service rather than present a range of options to choose from. In particular, if home care providers do assessments they may encourage the elderly person to stay in their own home when perhaps residential care would be a more suitable option for them.
In these situations, consumers may potentially not receive the most sound advice and level of care they need, putting them at risk. Therefore it is of great concern and importance which types of services are allowed to assess people for aged care.
A statement from the Department of Health to HelloCare received on 9 January 2020 said processes will be put in place to ensure that aged care providers will not be able to benefit from assessments they perform.
“The Government will ensure that companies that run aged care services are not advantaged by being associated with an assessment organisation,” the statement said.
An update on the development of this new aged care assessment arrangement will be held as a webinar by the Health Department on Wednesday 12 February 2020.
As participants will have the opportunity to ask questions I highly recommended anyone in the industry or interested in aged care attend the webinar. More information here