Response to Stewart Brown analysis & report in Community Care Review article

Read e-Tools' Managing Director's response regarding the new home care arrangements & unspent funds. Plus gain insight into shortcomings & practices that can be remedied for a better outcome moving forward.

A recent article in the Community Care Review titled “Financial light on the horizon for home care” covers home care moving to a new payment arrangement and unspent funds, with an economic report and analysis from Stewart Brown. Below is an excerpt from the article:

“StewartBrown’s latest economic analysis says changes to the way providers receive home care payments, which come into effect from September, will redistribute the $1.5 billion in unspent funds being held across Australia…StewartBrown says the new payment arrangements won’t address the underlying reasons for unspent funds continuing to grow, which the report puts down to over-funding of home care recipients…”

Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Stewart Brown’s analysis of the situation.  In my opinion, the IPA is a self-inflicted “own goal” by providers that will not benefit either providers or current consumers.  It may help fund new consumers but that is an offset to further government funding. 

The fact that it is being portrayed as “…the underlying reason for unspent funds…to overfunding of home care recipients” is patent nonsense.

Unspent funds are due to several reasons, the most obvious being:

  • Lack of training of staff in adequate care plan management
  • Inadequate use of paramedical support personnel in care management and assessment
  • Inability of providers/staff to educate consumers on the purpose of the home care programme
  • Delivered services not claimed
  • Inadequate management systems that do not allow carers to assess care plans against budgets in real time as an interactive function
  • Lack of reconciliation processes between services and funding
  • No systematic process for assessing the correct fees
  • No fixed period of fee increases/reviews
  • No agreement between the Provider and the Consumer regarding fee increases
  • Poor reconciliation process between finance systems, department funding and home care management systems
  • Inadequate management of 3rd party suppliers and costing of services
  • No scientific methodology behind the calculation of Care and Package Management
  • Inadequate profit margin

In addition to the above, unspent funds have also led, in some cases, to further issues of not charging a consumer contribution and even worse an Income Tested Fee.  Both these decisions will have negative ramifications going forward.  Providers have approximately 2 months to try and remedy some of these shortcomings before it is too late.

Uploading data onto the Department’s portal has been delayed but IT vendors will be setting up systems to handle this as soon as the portal is activated.  Whilst it is almost too late to fix the current unspent funds dilemma, it is not too late to change practices which will offset some of the unspent funds and also set providers up for a better outcome going forward.

At least every provider should be reviewing care plans and service costs in July for the 21/22 year.

David Powis MBA
Managing Director
e-Tools Software Pty Ltd

Read full article in Community Care Review here.

Please contact David Powis / e-Tools Software at info@e-tools.com.au if you have any queries or would like to know more.

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