Transferring Home Care Package Providers

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How to Transfer Home Care Providers

For many elderly Australians, a Home Care Package is the key to being able to age at home, in the comfort of a familiar environment.

Since 2017, Home Care Packages have been consumer-directed, which means you can choose the services and providers that work best for you.

Home Care Package subsidies enable you to avoid the life changes and transitions involved in moving to a nursing home and continue to live at home, following your own schedule and enjoying full independence as you age.


Do I Need a Reason to Transfer to a New Home Care Provider?

All the services you receive through My Aged Care follow the model of consumer-directed care. This means you always have control over the type of care you receive and who provides it. The goal of consumer-directed care is to give you choices and control over both your care and your provider.

Because you have the right to choose your provider, you don’t need to give any reason or explanation for why you want to transfer. You can transfer providers at any time, for any reason. Freedom to choose your provider and change with out an explanation is one of the corebenefits of consumer-directed care.


Is Transferring Home Care Providers the Right Decision For Me?

Although you always have the right to transfer to a new Home Care provider, the transition does require some research and steps. Before you begin the process, it’s a good idea to think through your needs and goals to determine whether changing providers is the best option foryou.

One common reason for transferring care is a geographic move. Most providers offer services within specific regions, so if you’re moving to an area where your current provider doesn’t offer services, then transferring providers is clearly the right choice. If you anticipate moving at some point in the future, it’s a good idea to choose a provider that offers services in a broad area. (The CareSide offers self-managed Home Care services anywhere in Australia.)

Another reason to transfer providers is if your care needs have changed. If you’ve had an illness, hospitalisation, or other change in your health, then you might need different or additional services, either on a temporary or an ongoing basis. If your current provider doesn’t offer all the services you need, then switching providers is a good choice.

Finally, another reason to transfer providers is if you’re unsatisfied with your care. In some cases, your provider may be able to work with you to address your concerns. For example, if you feel your current provider’s costs or fees are unreasonable, you may be able to negotiate those costs. If you feel your carer is unprofessional or isn’t sufficiently trained for your needs, you may be able to request a different carer who might be a better fit. But if your current provider isn’t able to satisfy your complaints, then transferring care could be your best option.


Are There Any Limitations on My Choice to Transfer to a New Provider?

Although you have the right to transfer care at any time, your current provider is allowed to impose some limitations on your transfer of care. For example, they may require a notice period, which means you have to give them a specific amount of advance written notice of your plan to transfer to a new provider. The notice period is usually 14 days, but it could be as long as 4 weeks.

Your old provider may also charge an exit fee, which is a flat charge for the administrative costs of ending your contract. Your old provider can only charge an exit fee out of your unspent Home Care Package funds; they can’t require you to pay an additional exit fee out of pocket. Charging an exit fee is at the discretion of the provider, so The CareSide never charges an exit fee.

Any requirements like notice periods and exit amounts must be detailed in your Home Care Agreement. If your provider didn’t include these stipulations in the Agreement you signed when you started care, then they aren’t allowed to charge you any additional hidden fees when you transfer.


What is the Process for Transferring Home Care Providers?

The first step in transferring care is to choose your new provider. It’s best to do this first so you won’t have any gap in care between the time your care with your old provider ends and your new care agreement begins.

To find a new provider, search the My Aged Care website for providers who can offer you Home Care Package services. Look for providers who offer the services you need in the region where you live. Make a short list of 3-5 providers who you think might be agood fit.

Next, call each of the companies on your list and talk with them about your needs. Ask each home care provider questions about the quality and training of their carers, their cost for services, their administrative and management fees, and their process for addressing concerns. If you have specific requirements, such as a preference for a certain gender carer or a desire for a carer with particular cultural knowledge, discuss that with your potential providers as well.

After you’ve talked with all the providers, decide which provider you think is the best fit for you.

Once you’ve chosen a provider, it’s time to reactivate your referral code. You can find this code in your My Aged Care portal. Call My Aged Care (1800 200 422) and let them know you’re switching providers and need to use your referral code. Then, call the provider you’ve chosen. Give them your referral code and agree on a start date when you’ll begin care with them. Make sure this date is far enough in the future for you to give sufficient notice to your current provider as required by your current CareAgreement.

Finally, you need to let your old provider know that you’re switching providers. Do this in writing, and make sure you provide the minimum amount of notice that’s required by your Care Agreement. Send a letter or an email to your current provider telling them that you’re switching to a new provider and informing them the date of your cessation day. Cessation day is the day your care officially ends, and it should be the same day as the start date when your care with your new provider will begin.


How Can I Avoid a Gap in Care?

In order to avoid having a gap in care when you switch providers, it’s important to understand what cessation day means. Your cessation day is the day your care with your old provider officially ends, but you will not receive care from your old provider on that day.

Your start date is the day when your new care begins, and it must be either on or after cessation day: you aren’t allowed to have a time period when your two care providers overlap. However, if your start day is later than your cessation day, then you will have a time period when you aren’t receiving care.

In order to avoid that gap, schedule your start day to be the same date as your cessation day. Make sure you understand the terms of service, and especially the requirements for notice, with your old provider, as well as the start availability of your new provider, before you finalize a date or use your referral code. Then, schedule your old provider to end care on the same day your new provider begins.


What Will Happen to My Unspent Funds

Your Home Care Package balance resets and your new package begins on 1 July every year. If you transfer providers on any other day, then you will probably have funds remaining in your package for the current year.

If this is the case, your old provider is responsible for contacting My Aged Care and asking them to transfer the funds. You don’t need to do anything to ensure this happens other than inform your old provider in writing of the date when you want to transfer care.

If your Home Care Agreement specifies an exit fee, then your old provider will deduct the agreed fee before your remaining funds are transferred. If the agreed exit fee is more than you have in unspent funds, then they will only charge the money remaining in your package — they can’t ask you for additional money for an exit fee. 

Your new provider will use your referral code to get your unspent funds, as well as future package disbursements, paid to them. Although this transfer won’t happen immediately, you won’t need to pay anything while the funds are being transferred. Your reactivated referral code is all you need to pay for your new care. 

However, unspent funds are another reason why you should be careful not to have a gap in care. If you don’t sign a new Care Agreement with your new provider within 56 days of your cessation day with your old provider, you could lose your unspent funds. A gap could also cause you to lose your Home Care Package and have to schedule a new ACAT assessment. 


How can I learn more about transferring care?

Transferring your Home Care Package to a new provider is an important decision, but it doesn’t need to be a difficult process. If you find a provider who’s a better fit for your needs and follow the steps of the process, then changing to a new provider is a simple and straightforward process.

If you’re looking for a new care provider, the CareSide offers the best value for your costContact us to talk about whether our services could be the right fit for your needs.

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