Who said deregulation was easy? Australia’s movement to allocate home care packages to consumers has not been a smooth one. There are more than 100,000 Australians on the waiting list to receive their home care package, with 41,000 of those on an interim lower care package. The bottleneck has been difficult for both Australians waiting to be serviced, and aged care providers who have are running well below capacity.
Most concerning about the rise in interim home care packages is the 60,500 queue of level 4 packages (the highest level of care) worth an estimated $3bn in revenue for Australian home care providers – almost double what the government is currently spending on home care. The high demand for level 4 packages has driven the allocation of more stop-gap, lower care packages to those who are waiting, rather than packages that meet the desired or approved level of care.
It appears to be a game of catch up, with a total of 28.2% (9,233 out of 32,722) of assigned home care packages allocated during the three months to September 2017, with only 71.8% of those packages giving the desired level of care. Most concerning for home care providers is the gradual rise in the proportion of home care packages allocated for an interim purpose, rising from 24.2% in July to 32.6% in September.