THE final stage of home care reform will be implemented in July 2018, when the Home Care Packages program and the Commonwealth Home Support Program are combined.
The change is expected to open the way for consumers to choose small independent providers or deal directly with carers to make the most of their funding.
COTA chief executive Ian Yates said some providers already co-operated with alternative platforms and contractors to help clients make the most of their packages, and the implementation of portability in 2017 would further enhance opportunities.
He said care recipients in regional areas would be among those who could benefit most from being able to negotiate with smaller operators, creating greater competition and diversity in smaller markets.
Better Caring founder Peter Scutt said his care management platform, which allows clients to negotiate directly with fully qualified carers who operate as independent contractors, was an option growing in popularity.
Brisbane private care provider Angels in Aprons is also growing as a result of a consumer-driven market. “We have a strong working relationship already with some major providers,” founder Sharon Douglas said.
“But in other cases clients have had to push hard to use their funds to access our service, and it takes quite a lot of energy for people who are sometimes already ill or at the end of their tether.
“Being a niche service means we can be very flexible and responsive, so clients get help when they need it and there are no case management or administration fees.”