Reforms to ensure the transparency and comparability of home care pricing information took effect from 1 July 2019, including requirements for providers to update existing client’s Home Care Agreements, to:
- include a copy of the current My Aged Care pricing schedule
- charge the client the price outlined in the schedule in their Home Care Agreement, or document a different price in the Home Care Agreement and the reason
- ensure they are no longer charging separately for any administrative business‑related costs.
For existing clients (those in care on 1 July 2019), these actions must be undertaken before 1 July 2020.
However, reflecting the intent of consumer directed care, the legislation contains an obligation that Home Care Agreements can only be changed through the mutual consent of the provider and client, following adequate consultation. This is not a new requirement.
The department would expect that in undertaking adequate consultation and ensuring mutual consent, the provider:
- gives sufficient information to the client about any changes to their home care pricing, so that the client fully understands the impact on their personal circumstances.
- informs the client that variations to the client’s Home Care Agreement can only be made when they have the client’s informed consent, and that the client is not obligated to consent to a variation if they do not wish to do so.
If the client does not consent to a variation, the provider must not unilaterally vary the Home Care Agreement. Providers also cannot use the lack of client consent to cease providing care. Providers should also remain aware of their security of tenure obligations.
Given the ability for a provider and client to agree to different pricing structures than those in the provider’s pricing schedule, the department has an expectation that providers and clients will, in most cases, be able to agree to variations to the Home Care Agreement.
The Department has released a factsheet to help home care recipients understand the changes.