With approved home care providers now well underway with enacting the legislated requirements for improving the transparency and comparability of home care package pricing information, it is timely to provide LASA Members with a readiness checklist against which to check off their readiness to transition to these new requirements.
Key items that LASA Members should give consideration to include:
- Review/revise the home care pricing structure to comply with legislation, with user testing for new clients and identification of transition requirements for existing client as required.
- Familiarisation with the associated legislative changes made through the Aged Care Legislation Amendment (Comparability of Home Care Pricing Information) Principles 2019 and accounting for this in the updating of organisational policies and procedures.
- Coding and testing any change in pricing structure in client information management systems, noting that providers may be running two pricing systems simultaneously during the transition period.
- Accounting for the December 2018 MYEFO announcement for reductions in basic daily fees from 1 July 2019 for affected clients.
- Note that the Department of Health has advised LASA that with regards to the annual amount of the basic daily fee payable by HCP clients being reduced by $400 for level 1 packages, $200 for level 2 packages and $100 for level 3 packages, the legislation will be amended once the new government is in place. The new basic daily fee figures will be released to the sector shortly thereafter and the timeframe will be dependent on the new government.
- Building a communication strategy for existing clients, helping them to understand why the government is taking action to increase pricing transparency and comparability. Information within the Improving Home Care Pricing Information factsheet may provide content to assist with this communication.
- Note that existing clients will need to consent to any pricing change introduced during the transition to a new pricing arrangement as this reflects a change of service agreement. Providers need to account for any client who does not consent/agree to a pricing change (if required) and the feasibility to retain such clients on existing pricing arrangements or the option of transitioning them out to another care provider with account for security of tenure provisions and wavering exit fees to ensure such clients are not disadvantaged by contractual changes.
- Training required for staff to have the conversations with their clients during the transition period with clear direction for escalation of any client queries to ensure consistency of client communications.
- Accounting for the potential loss of some clients during the transition period. Some clients may inevitably be considering switching providers and interpret any pricing change as a trigger to enact switching to another provider. Managing communications and engagement with clients will be important.
- Consideration of targeted strategies to monitor the outplaying of market forces in the period following 1 July 2019 with account for client attraction and retention.