BEWARE THE HIDDEN COSTS: Home care recipients are urged to check their providers charges closely for any hidden fees, and are urged to report any wrongdoing.
BEWARE THE HIDDEN COSTS: Home care recipients are urged to check their providers charges closely for any hidden fees, and are urged to report any wrongdoing. Bev Lacey

Gympie home care recipients urged to check fees

EXORBITANT and hidden administration fees may still be rife within the Gympie home care industry, as misleading providers fail to issue statements despite the introduction of the Consumer Directed Care (CDC) legislation.

Clients who receive statements are being urged to take a closer look, with administration charges being dressed up as line items that may appear to be services, but instead are efforts to reduce transparency between the provider and care recipient.

Envigor Home Care's executive manager Tracey Silvester has over 25 years experience in senior positions in Queensland Health as a consultant to the community and aged care sectors, not-for-profit organisations and private aged care.

She is a registered nurse and holds multiple health and science degrees and an Associate Fellow of the Australian College of Health Services Management.

"Now is a great time for consumers and their families to be closely examining their statements and to fully understand how their package funds are being spent,” Ms Silvester said. "If they aren't sure what a description means or it seems they have received a service but can't remember what that service was, then they should ask for clarification.”

Labelling hidden administrative costs as "service support” or "advice and guidance” are tactics that home care providers may use to give the appearance of services rendered to the client.

"Some people have also been charged for emails and phone calls the provider sends and makes on their behalf. It is our view that these charges are included in the case management charge, and separating them out is effectively double dipping,” Ms Silvester said.

With the introduction of CDC promising to provide more flexibility and control to recipients of home care, excessive administration fees may undermine this initiative, and take advantage of the vulnerable.

"Clients have a right to understand where their funds are being spent,” Ms Silvester said.

Should clients be unhappy with their home care provider, a government-run aged care complaints service exists to aid and help care recipients take control of where their money is going.

If you have a complaint relating to aged care, contact the Australian Government Aged Care Complaint Commissioner on 1800 550 552 or visit www.agedcare

complaints.gov.au/.

Gympie Times


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