Aged Care

A business owner’s guide to HCP vs CHSP aged care services

Aged Care HCP vs CHSP

In this guide we review the differences between the HCP vs CHSP funding programs. As with most developed nations, the Australian population is aging. And this trend is only going to increase over the coming years. Indeed, according to research conducted by Charles Sturt University, people over the age of 65 will make up approximately 22% of the Australian population by the year 2057. This means the number of older people living in our society will double in the next 35 years, from approximately 4.2 million today to 8.7 million by 2057.

This will present a range of unique challenges and opportunities for Aged Care providers to grapple with. One of the main challenges relates to developing the capacity of Australia’s current aged care system to cater not only for the number of older persons in the coming decades but also their unique needs. As such, it is important to understand the current government-funded aged care options on offer for older people in Australia. And these can be grouped in one of two categories: Home Care Packages (HCP) and Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP).

HCP versus CHSP aged care services: What are the differences?

Before we get into differentiating between the two models of care, let’s look at what similarities they both fundamentally share. Both HCP and CHSP are government-funded programs that allow older Australians to access affordable home care services to help them to continue to live in their own home. Technically speaking, they are defined as consumer-directed care (CDC) services.  Both aged care service models are aimed at supporting their aged person’s independence as well as connection to their community. Both HCP and CHSP are based upon the elderly person’s unique life goals, and both programs are bout giving the person a choice.

It’s common for providers familiar with one of these programs, or those that are just starting out in the aged care industry to have questions about HCP vs CHSP. For this reason, we have put together this guide explaining the differences between these two programs.

Home Care Packages explained

HCP offers a higher and more frequent level of support, to assist elderly people to remain living in their own homes. It entails four levels of consumer-directed care based on the ascertained needs of the person:

  1. Basic care needs
  2. Low care needs
  3. Intermediate care needs
  4. High care needs.

HCP generally helps the aged person with services such as personal hygiene, physiotherapy, food prep, domestic duties, transportation, and social outings. If the person is assessed as being having low-level support needs, then CHSP may be a more fitting option.

Commonwealth Home Support Program explained

CHSP is defined as providing lower levels of support to enable older people to continue living independently. Within a CHSP-based service, the aged person might expect to receive help with things like:

  • transportation
  • household tasks
  • food prep
  • socialization

CHSP services are less intensive and less frequent. As such, they are basically designed to help the elderly person get “back on their feet” and resume enjoying their normal activities without ongoing assistance. However, there is scope for CHSP providers to render higher-intensity services in the short term to build capacity, or to avoid further decline. As can be seen, HCP and CHSP aim to support the aged person to live independently and the only difference between the two programs has to do with the assessed level of care required as well as the person’s set goals.

What financial help is available?

As government-backed programs, HCP and CHSP both have a certain amount of funding available. The best way to explain it is that the government subsidy on offer for participants in the CHSP scheme, should be lower than the funding level available to Level 1 HCP participants (less than $9,000 p.a.). The way the funding for CHSP works is that the Australian government subsidises service providers to provide discounted services to participants. The elderly person can make contributions to the costs of the service should they choose.

The funding for Home Care Packages is arranged to suit the model’s four-tier level of care system. Here is an approximate guide:

  1. Basic care needs – approx. $9,000 p.a.
  2. Low care needs – approx. $15,750 p.a.
  3. Intermediate care needs – approx. $34,250 p.a.
  4. High care needs – approx. $52,000 p.a.

The funding for HCPs is contingent upon the aged person’s care needs meeting the eligibility criteria as determined through an assessment. There must also be a plan in place with each provider that describes the type of care needed as well as how these needs will be met via the provision of services.

The service recipient is expected to contribute to the cost of their HCP, should they be able to afford it.

In terms of how much the individual contributes, this is divided into two separate categories:

  • A basic daily fee of up to $11.26 depending upon the care package chosen
  • Income-tested fee of up to $32.30 will be required if it’s determined that the person’s income can support this expense.

Client eligibility and the referral process

An initial assessment is required to ascertain what level of care and funding the elderly person is eligible for.

To begin the assessment process, the person registers with My Aged Care, and completes a short assessment that can be wither be completed online or via phone call. This assessment is designed to understand the unique needs of the aged person and whether these are low-level or more complex. Please note: a person can only qualify for HCP if they are deemed to have complex needs.

If the person is assessed as meeting the requirements for HCP, an Aged Care Assessment will then be carried out in their home. This is to allow for the person’s individual needs and home context to be evaluated. This assessment is free and only takes roughly 60 minutes. The aged person will be asked about such things as their health history, medication needs, as well as any physical and psychological needs.

The assessment process for CHSP is quite different. It requires a Regional Assessment Service (RAS). This is a face-to-face assessment that is similar although much less rigorous than a HCP assessment.

Registering as a Provider and getting paid

When you’re a CHSP provider, you are paid based on the services you provide. However, before you start to get paid, it is essential that you register with and be approved by the Australian Government’s Department of Health. This will bestow you with a grant to provide services under the CHSP.

On the other hand, HCP providers are tasked with managing the care needs of their clients, even if they themselves are not providing the actual services. As such, HCP providers can charge fees for managing the aged person’s care and this is usually charged as a percentage of the subsidy the client receives. For the requirements and process of registering as a HCP provider, please refer to the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission.

Final Thoughts

The aging of the Australian population shows no signs of slowing down. In the near future, a massive uptick in aged care services will be required to meet the increased demand. Business owners would do well to acquaint themselves with how the current aged care system in Australia works by understanding the differences between HCP vs CHSP. Multiple opportunities currently exist for Australian businesses in related fields to expand into the growing aged care services market. By doing so, you are not only ensuring the success of your business for the foreseeable future, but you are also helping older Australians make the most of their future by living the lifestyle they desire. If you would like to know more or want help beginning your expansion into aged care services, why not get in contact with Brevity today? Not only can we help service providers like you understand the process of becoming compliant with the Aged Care Quality Standards, we can also supply you with the right software package to help you fast-track your journey as an aged care services provider. Request a free trial of our all-in-one provider software today

Originally published Feb 17 2022

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