Confusion reigns over Health’s new aged care queue

The Department of Health has said 22,000 home care packages have been released under the new system and it will release detailed data in July on how it’s performing.

Bonnie Carter says her 84-year-old mother has been waiting for a high-level home care package for more than 70 days.

Ms Carter says that since an Aged Care Assessment Team assessed her mother as needing the package, “nothing has happened.”

“There’s been no contact other than me calling My Aged Care several times to see where she is in the queue and how long she might have to wait,” Ms Carter says.

“Apparently no one can tell anyone anything about this mythical queue until the end of this year,” she adds.

Under the latest aged care reforms that came into force on 27 February, the Department of Health has created a new centralised process for allocating home care packages directly to consumers.

As part of the new system a “national prioritisation process” has been created: after a senior is assessed as needing a home care package they join a new national queue where they wait to be allocated a package.

How long a senior waits on the queue is based on various factors – such as their level of need, how long they’ve been waiting and how quickly a package at their level of need becomes available (the number of packages is increasing but remains capped by government).

It’s a complex new system and, in the absence of transparency around how it is working, confusion is mounting among providers and consumers.

Read more here.

This story first appeared in Australian Ageing Agenda. 

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