Govt accused of 'hogging' $330m meant for home care

Thousands languishing on home-care waiting list end up in hospital, says Opposition.

help at home

The Federal Government should reveal why “excessive unspent funds” meant for home care packages (HCP) are being allowed to accumulate, a seniors’ advocacy group demanded yesterday.

In an analysis of the latest government report on the packages, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) said that more funds needed to be released urgently to help some of the 108,000 frail individuals who are on a list waiting for subsidised help at home.

“LASA notes that the Aged Care Financing Authority has identified unspent HCP funds of $330 million at 30 June 2017,” the group said.

“The Government needs to address the HCP waitlist crisis as a matter of urgency. There are nearly 132,000 HCP approvals made each year, with near 97,000 consumers also accessing packages.

“An estimated increase of 60,000 HCPs is required to respond to both existing and emerging demand.”

LASA said such an increase had the potential to cut the waiting list by nearly 70 per cent over three years.

The group’s call comes days after the Opposition quizzed Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Ken Wyatt over delays in reporting on care package rollouts, without response.

The former Turnbull Government has been blasted as “inept” over the rollout as the waiting list for services blows out to more than 108,000.

Opposition Minister for Ageing and Mental Health Julie Collins told Parliament last month that thousands of senior citizens forced to wait for at-home assistance were instead ending up in nursing homes or hospital emergency wards.

“(This) is a worse outcome for them and their families and costs the community more. It is simply not good enough for the Government to say that … the 2018 Budget (is funding an extra 14,000 new individuals over four years). That's only 3500 home-care packages a year over the forward estimates – it is not good enough when the list grew by 4000 older Australians in just the last quarter.”

Ms Collins said around 88,000 older Australians, many with dementia, were waiting for a high-level package.

“After the 2018 Federal Budget, Minister Wyatt admitted that the Government would need to consider other interventions to reduce the wait list. (But) the only thing that has happened is that the minister made the astounding decision to delay the release of the March 2018 quarter  data (on HCP) for more than three months.

“The question he needs to answer is why?

“In line with a commitment made by the Department of Health, the June 2018 data was due for release on or around the end of August.

“While older Australians languish on the waitlist many of them will not age in their own homes – many will enter residential aged care or spend their last days in Australia’s hospital system. This is totally unacceptable,” she said.

When YourLifeChoices asked Minister Wyatt's office when the June-quarter data on home-care packages would be released, we were told he had yet to receive the data himself, but once he did "it would be released quickly thereafter".

"In the interests of transparency, the Coalition Government is putting an unprecedented amount of home-care information in the public domain," a spokesman for Mr Wyatt told YourLifeChoices. "The delay in the most recent report being made public was due to the Department of Health carrying out additional data analysis to provide a better understanding of the nature of the waiting list."

LASA has requested that data on home-care services should be released within 90 days of the end of each quarter.

According to the Department of Health’s latest report on home-care:

  • 41,993 home care packages were released in the March 2018 quarter
  • there were 31,240 approvals for a home-care package in the March 2018 quarter
  • there were 77,918 people in home care at the end of last year
  • this is an increase of 5 per cent since 30 September 2017 and 13.5 per cent since 31 December 2016
  • about 9100 new individuals took up home care in the December 2017 quarter
  • there was a rise of 5.8 per cent in the number of approved care providers to 853 in the December quarter
  • at the end of March, there were 54,821 people in the National Prioritisation Queue who were either in, or assigned, a home-care package
  • this figure was 14.4 per cent, or nearly 7000 people, more than the previous quarter
  • a further 53,635 people on the queue were either not in, or assigned, a lower level home care package, bringing the total on the waiting list to 108,456.

Have you applied and received a satisfactory home-care package? Are you on a waiting list for funded home-care? Do you see the day when it may be of value to have help around the home and should the taxpayer fund the service?

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    COMMENTS

    To make a comment, please register or login

    6th Sep 2018
    2:40pm
    I'd rather the money not be spent rather than dished out willy nilly to undeserving rorters.

    I have seen first hand people living in Mcmansions rorting this system with $15k they don't need and going on annual overseas holidays and paying for their grandkids private school tuition costing 10X the value package they receive
    Its ridiculous
    MICK
    7th Sep 2018
    9:22am
    It's no surprise the current government seek to milk average people. As far as today's topic is concerned it appears no different to America where there is outrage because the well off do not want to subsidise health care for the destitute slaves.
    Your post onbaid is your normal deflect the issue post.....how government sponsored trolls work to change the subject and avoid the issue.
    If the money has been allocated it SHOULD be spent. If there were an issue with middle class 'rorting', there isn't, then change the criteria to access. That is the complete story.
    Karl Marx
    7th Sep 2018
    12:13pm
    Well good for you Olbaid, first hand knowledge of rorters, I hope you did the right thing by us tax payers & reported these rorting scoundrels with all your collective evidence. Otherwise you are no better than the rorters you accuse.
    Agree with Mick, the money once allocated should be spent and any rorters will be weeded out, caught and punished. Won't take long for the government to weed out the rorters with Olbaid hot on their heels.
    TREBOR
    7th Sep 2018
    12:30pm
    I believe you, olbie... I'm sure there are a few who do that.

    On the other hand, there are some who need it who aren't getting it.
    PlanB
    7th Sep 2018
    1:43pm
    olbaird I would think that those wanting the "help" would have to pass a heap of tests b4 they got anywhere near it -- I know people that really need it that are still waiting after 18mth or more -- I THINK they want to know your bank balance etc as well so as they know how much you will have to pay -- it is not FREE
    leek
    7th Sep 2018
    4:51pm
    olbaid, i think you might be wrong. the packages are not given to people to spend, they go through a case manager and providors etc. If they chose to be self funded, they have to prove every cent they spend. And still $$ goes out to a higher level.
    i dare say you are seeing rich people getting help.
    if you can PROVE without a shadow of doubt that they are getting the $$ and are not spending it on care services or equipment for help, then dob them in.
    I am a carer. And I go out to do housework for a house FULL of able bodied people, but 1 person will be the frail old person. These are the true rorters of the system. Getting cheap house work done(might only be $3 an hour). I am happy to help the little old person who can no longer do the housework. It is an honour to help those people. But I hate when there are lots of other people living in the house doing nothing, then they have a cheek to tell me if i am not doing the housework to their liking. I can tell you now, this is the 1 thing that every carer HATES. I hear other carers complain about this time and time i again.
    Joy B
    7th Sep 2018
    11:45am
    I receive a Level 2 HCP. It allows me to stay at home and get services that I can't do myself but it also allows me to have much needed equipment. I don't know what I would do without this.
    TREBOR
    7th Sep 2018
    12:37pm
    Padlock Holmes and the Case Of the Disappearing Post... elementary, my dear Watson - we'll do it again!!

    This contribution to care would be helpful - the ex, for whom I'm carer, is slowly losing her marbles and I am not in the pink of health myself. As a burden on the healthcare system, I am happy to say that all the blood tests show I am a 'good, clean, boy' without tattoos, spikes in the arm or a toy boy on the side.

    We already pay someone to trim the lawns - I cut them with a ride-on mower - easy - but cannot manage the edges any more due to pain. Got my own disability parking card as well - though the chiro working on my back etc says I look great for my age.... looks can be deceiving.

    I must push the ex to put in that claim. Even basic level of care would help ...

    I wonder how all those older people who are 'out of touch' manage this? Don't their families care enough to help out?
    PlanB
    7th Sep 2018
    1:45pm
    Dead right TREBOR looks are deceiving
    floss
    7th Sep 2018
    3:10pm
    Yes some people need a lot more help it started with the Hockey Zombie budget and the attack on Retirees will go on till we get rid of these crooks that can't even run their own party born to rule and they just have not got a clue how to go about it.
    Rae
    8th Sep 2018
    8:41am
    Every Government up until now has ignored the demographics. They are still doing it.
    They can't even process the numbers of retirees applying for pensions but the numbers have been known all along.

    Strange isn't it that only two groups were targeted in budgets. The ex unionists and savers.

    Now they talk about cutting dividend cheques and a great hue and cry erupts. Priceless.

    Pretending to fund something and actually doing so appears two different things.

    You can't believe anything they do or say including the amounts of money they are providing. They don't appear to be able to keep numbers real at all. Deeming figures are also imaginary zombie numbers.

    We need a Leader who can drain our swamp.

    7th Sep 2018
    4:53pm
    Trust these incompetent Lieberal morons to bugger this up.
    GeorgeM
    7th Sep 2018
    9:22pm
    Absolutely, this could be a win-win - with people in need getting real help, while the Govt also saves by not funding more nursing homes and hospital costs - but their ideology of not wanting to help anyone seems to be getting in the way.

    On another aspect, it seems agencies such as LAS seem to be extremely weak as negotiators. While saying "... that more funds needed to be released urgently to help some of the 108,000 frail individuals who are on a list waiting for subsidised help at home.", they then go on to request that "An estimated increase of 60,000 HCPs is required to respond to both existing and emerging demand." Maybe I am misunderstanding it, why are they asking to fix only part of the waiting list? why not the entire list? What would that cost?
    After all, catering to the full waiting list it would save on alternative costs as noted for more nursing homes and hospital costs.
    auzie3136
    21st Oct 2018
    3:23pm
    They are hoping most will die off so they don't have to spend any money.It is disgraceful what they do, it is euthanasia by stealth.