Legislation passed in the Senate yesterday giving older Australians more choice about their home care services is a very welcome improvement to our aged care system, leading seniors advocate COTA Australia said today.
COTA Chief Executive Ian Yates said the new provisions will for the first time allow older people to choose their services and who provides them, rather than having services determined for them.
The new legislation will allow people who are unhappy with the services they are receiving, or who need to relocate out of the area, to change providers and keep their package.
“These changes are about giving older people back significantly more control over their lives when they need home care, and are a long overdue ,” Mr Yates said,
“Currently aged care packages are allocated by government to aged care service providers, so when an older person is assessed as eligible for support in their home they then have to find a provider in their area who has a package available and hope the provider is responsive to their needs.
“Under this new legislation funding will follow the consumer not the provider, allowing people to be given the package and choose the care provider that best suits their individual needs.”
Mr Yates said the new laws were a big step forward in implementing Productivity Commission recommendations from 2011 for a system that gives more choice and control to the consumer.
He said a more competitive aged care environment would put the onus on aged care providers to prove their worth and improve the quality of care and services they provide – providers that provide quality services will be able to attract new customers and expand.
“Many aged care providers have a long way to go in learning how to be partners with consumers in providing support and care services based on consumer preferences and well-being,” Mr Yates said
“These changes will allow older people to leave poor providers; and providers that don’t improve their game will go out of business.”
Mr Yates congratulated the government and Minister Ley on the passage of the legislation and thanked Labor and the Greens for their bipartisan support and assistance in swift passage of the Bill, which will now allow ample time for implementation before the new arrangements start in February next year.
Media contact: Ian Yates 0418 835 439, Jenny Stokes 0478 504 280 .
COTA Australia is the peak policy development, advocacy and representation organisation for older Australians, representing COTAs in every State and Territory and through them over 500,000 older Australians.