In a letter to consumers, Minister for Aged Care Anika Wells announces an 11.9% increase in Home Care Package (HCP) funding from July 2023 to cover the Fair Work Commission’s 15% wage rise, leaving a 3.1% shortfall.
While the letter mentions new subsidies, it fails to mention the promised 5.7% indexation increase from the Federal Budget, resulting in an overall 8.8% reduction in funding.
Home care providers have raised concerns about maintaining service levels without adequate funding and the confusion caused for recipients who need to approve fee increases.
CEO Yvonne Timson of Community Vision Australia (CVA) highlights the lack of communication and challenges the Department of Health and Aged Care’s assurance of timely reimbursement for costs, citing past delays in COVID grant payments.
“It’s a kick in the teeth,” Yvonne Timson, CEO of WA home care and disability support provider Community Vision Australia (CVA) told The Weekly Source. “If you reduce funding, how can we provide the same level of service? As providers, we need to understand if they are expecting us to find an additional 3.1% out of our own funding. They are not communicating with us.”
“Everyone is telling them that in Government speak, we are funding providers, and you shouldn’t lose any services, but that is not right.”
“They will think, ‘why should I lose any of my services and why should I approve your fee increase?’ But if they don’t, we can’t deliver the service,” Timson added.
In a recent development, Russell Herald, the assistant secretary of the home support operations branch at the Department of Health and Aged Care, has revealed that home care providers have the opportunity to seek funding of up to $250,000 per year to expand their service offerings within the Commonwealth Home Support Program.