The Government has released a consultation paper on changes to additional services publishing arrangements. However, this paper also proposes significant changes that would discourage providers from making use of additional services arrangements to better meet the needs of residents, particularly for providers that offer bundled additional services arrangements to all residents in a service. LASA’s current position is that:
- We support the publication requirements, subject to some possible issues with the wording of the proposed disclosures.
- We support the requirement to review capacity to benefit, given this is already effectively implied by the fact that services cannot charge where there is no capacity, though we believe that this should be aligned with care planning.
- We do not support the proposal regarding low means residents – many supported or partially supported residents do have the capacity to pay additional services fees, or have family that are willing to pay these fees for them. The proposed arrangements, when combined with security of tenure rules, appear to mean that a supported resident who agreed to pay additional services fees prior to entry could change their mind but continue at the service indefinitely. Significantly, ACFA found in 2017 that there were no problems with access to services for supported residents.
- We do not support the proposal regarding limited term contracts – again in many cases, when combined with security of tenure rules, this would mean that a resident could continue to benefit from services without paying for them after having earlier agreed to make these payments.
LASA is also concerned that this paper does not address the fundamental uncertainties that are currently discouraging providers from using additional services arrangements.
Feedback is sought from Members on the proposed measures highlighted in the consultation paper, which will inform LASA’s submission to the Government. Feedback to MohamadM@lasa.asn.au by 10 December 2019.