Home care pricing changes as of July 1st 2019

Q&A with Maris Naish, Director of St Louis Aged Care about the new home care pricing changes as of July 1st 2019.

What has prompted the recent price changes and the need to be more transparent?

“The recent pricing changes were a response from the community to provide better transparency of home care rates. My Aged Care did a series of workshops around Australia for providers and consumers and the feedback that resulted from these workshops was some providers charge too high administration fees, and that the fees themselves were not as easily understood as they could be.

It was initially proposed that administration and case management fees which are currently charged separately, were removed and instead rolled into the hourly rate. However, the department decided to break it down in the following way:

  • Administration items such as insurance and rent would be rolled into the hourly rate
  • Administration items such as care management and package management would remain a separate fee.

The structure of the fees has also changed, providers used to charge the admin fees as a percentage of funding. However now the fee will be a dollar value making it easier for people to compare apples with apples between providers they are assessing, and they will also know the exact dollar value they are being charged in admin fees.”

What are the main price changes that will be made?

The personal care hourly rate

“The personal care hourly rate is the hourly rate we charge for our care. This has increased from $49.95 per hour to $59.95 per hour. That’s because some of the items that were included in the admin fee such as rent and insurance are now included in the hourly rate. We have not increased our hourly rate fee since 2014 so it was also time for us to do a review.

As a side note, it is widely accepted that our industry under-charges for home care services. Research shows that revenues across the industry have reduced over the last few years. There is much more competition now which is good for consumers as this has kept the pricing competitive, but there is a balance which is needed here – pricing has to be sustainable for providers to continue delivering quality care.

At St Louis we are still committed and succeeding at delivering a high quality of care even with these pricing pressures. For further reading you can refer to the Aged Care Financial Performance Survey."

Care management fees

“Care management was previously called care coordination and this ensures you receive the care that you need at home. It includes the initial home care plan development to establish your criteria for your care needs and goals, plan reviews, coordination and scheduling of services, a single point of contact and ensuring the care you receive is respectful of your personal beliefs and culture.

At St Louis, we allocate a specific coordinator to each client who gets to know their lifestyle, how to best support them and they become a consistent and positive presence in their life.

This fee is now detailed as a number of hours every fortnight at a standard rate which will be on your monthly invoice. This figure only changes if there are circumstances that require an excessive amount of coordination.

Care management fees published in My Aged care are $44.90 per fortnight for a level 1 up to $359.20 for a level 4 per fortnight.”

Package management fee?

“Previously called the administration fee, this is the ongoing administration and organisation associated with ensuring delivery and management of your home care package. It includes managing your home care package funds effectively to maximise the delivery of services to you, to ensure our standard of quality assurance is maintained and the cost to prepare a monthly statement.

It does not include any behind the scenes costs related to supporting your care, for example the costs related to your provider running a business such as office expenses, rent, insurance, marketing and more. This comes out of a separate budget.

St Louis’ package management fee is $31.73 per fortnight for level 1 up to $250 per fortnight for level 4. “

Home care package exit amount

“Providers can charge an exit amount if they wish. At St Louis we have a zero exit fee as we stand by the quality of service we provide. If our clients are happy, they will want St Louis to continue delivering their home care service.”

The basic daily fee

“The basic daily fee has been stipulated by My Aged Care at 17.5% of the pension allowance. From July 1, this changes and will range from $132.16 per fortnight to $147.56 per fortnight.

The basic daily fee is negotiable and at St Louis, we will assess an individual’s circumstances and discuss whether this may be reduced based on their care needs and ability to pay.

How has transparency of home care pricing improved?

  1. The new standardised format of the pricing schedule with dollar values means that people can now compare apples with apples when they are evaluating different providers.
  2. The invoice statement is delivered monthly but the schedule in the home care agreement shows fortnightly spend, which is consistent with pension payments to help people to budget better.

St Louis supports the department in its endeavours to provide clearer and simpler information to people and will listen to our existing and new consumers’ feedback on our new pricing.

It is now a level playing field and everyone has to publish the same information. Our priority at St Louis has always been the delivery of quality care over price and we will always adhere to this. We provide value and quality, we are not the cheapest in the market but we are also not the most expensive.”

Call St Louis today to discuss the new home care pricing schedules

Call St Louis today to discuss how your current home care package may change with the new home care pricing, or to discuss the fees in general. If you would like to apply for a home care package, our experienced team will help you from the start. Call St Louis Adelaide home care in 8332 0950 or St Louis Victor Harbor home care on 8551 1481.

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