A recent update from the Department of Health has flagged that it is now aware that an increasing number of aged care providers are or are proposing to charge additional service fees to residents.
In response to this the Department has advised that such fees “would not be supported by the legislation where the fee does not provide a direct benefit to the individual or the resident cannot take up or make use of the services, or where the activities or services subject to the fee are part of the normal operation of an aged care home and fall within the scope of specified care and services”.
When assigning additional fees, providers cannot charge for services or activities that would form part of the general operations of the aged care home or services that are required to be delivered as part of a provider’s responsibilities. Examples include maintenance, general refurbishment after a resident has left, and employment of administration staff whose primary role is related to the general operation of the aged care home.
As a result fo the recent update, providers must ensure that:
- their fees are in line with legislative requirements
- they obtain agreement from residents prior to delivering any service or care for which there is an additional fee
- they provide an itemised account of ‘other care or services’ for which they charge an additional fee.
Further information can be found here.