How to switch aged care service providers in 4 simple steps
When it comes to home care, not every service provider is made equal. The level of service provided, the cost of services and the different fees and administration charges can greatly differ from provider to provider. Some aged care service providers offer a wide range of services from retirement villages and residential aged care to home care packages or even disability services, whilst others, such as Southcare, specialise in one area of aged care such as at home care services.
There are a number of reasons why you may have the need to change your home care service provider. It’s possible that you have decided to downsize and because of that you have moved location to an area your current service provider doesn’t service. Maybe your circumstances have changed and you require additional home care services that your current provider doesn’t offer. Or maybe you feel you’re not receiving the best value for money possible with your current provider.
Unlike when you first apply for home care services, changing providers is a much simpler and straight forward process. You do not need to get in touch with My Aged Care to be reassessed (unless you feel your circumstances have changed and you require a higher level of care) and you do not need to go onto the waiting list as you did when you first started receiving services. Switching providers can be done in four simple steps that requires some research, making a decision and contacting your current and new provider.
Step 1 – Research Other Service Providers Available in Your Area
If you have made the decision it’s time to make a change and move away from your current home care service provider, you will need to do some research on other providers that are available in your area. The best way to start this research is to ask for recommendations from your family, friends and health care professionals such as your GP. Hearing first hand experiences regarding home care service providers is a great way to learn about the service you would be receiving and can give you great peace of mind.
At Southcare, we have a customer referral program available for all our customers. We believe the best way to learn about a service provider is through first hand experience. So if you’re a current customer who recommends a friend to Southcare you will both receive a $100 gift card* as a thank you for your recommendation.
If you don’t have anyone who is able to provide a recommendation, or you would like to extend your search beyond word of mouth there are many other ways to do research. Look for information on service providers through your local Community Newspapers, talk back radio stations, Google and your local Bowls Club or Senior Citizens Centre.
Throughout the research stage of switching providers, it is important to keep a short list of your favourite providers. Keep a note of the services that for you are ‘non-negotiable’, ‘ímportant’ and ‘nice to have’, and make note on whether the short listed providers offer these services. Write down any questions that you may have for the new provider and compile pricing information for each provider. Always keep in mind what is important to you when it comes to finding a new provider. Do you want someone who is local to your area? Do you want a provider who has years of experience and has been in the industry for a long time? Is it important for your provider to be a not-for-profit organisation? Having a clear understanding of what you need and want from a service provider will assist you in creating a short list.
Step 2 – Compare Pricing Of Shortlisted Service Providers
Once you are satisfied with the research you have complete, create a short list of providers that are of interest to you. Utilise this short list to do a comparison study between your shortlisted providers and your current provider.
To help you with your comparison study, Southcare has put together a Price Comparison Tool that can be downloaded off the Southcare website. This tool has been designed to give you the information you require to compare the pricing of multiple providers.
Comparing the pricing structure between service providers is a great way to ensure you will be receiving the best value for money. Though Home Care Packages are subsidised by the Government, choosing a provider who has less fees ensures you are using your subsidy to the best of its worth. The more affordable a provider is and the less you’re charged for administration costs means you will have more money to spend on the services you require.
Step 3 – Contact Your Current Home Care Provider
Once you have complete your research, done your own price comparison study and made your decision on a new provider, the next step is to contact your current provider and advise them you wish to switch.
While speaking with your current provider you will need to refer to your home care agreement for the terms and conditions of your contract including termination notice and exit fees. Typically a provider will need at least 14 days notice that you will be switching and in some cases you will be charged an exit fee for changing. The charge for this fee will differ depending on your provider, so if you’re unsure it’s important to clarify the cost when you’re speaking with them.
When speaking with your current provider you will need to advise them on who you will be changing to so that they can organise the transfer of your remaining funds to the new provider. If an exit fee is applicable to your contract, this will come out of your funds before the transfer takes place. However, if you do not have enough funds in your trust account to cover the exit fee, you may need to pay this fee directly.
Step 4 – Contact Your Home Care New Provider
Your current provider will give you your last date of service. Once you have this date you need to contact your new provider to advise you would like to switch to them. You will need to provide your new service provider with the details of your old provider along with the last date of service.
If you have decided to change to Southcare, the Home Care Coordinator will complete the transfer with your current provider on your behalf.
More Information on Changing Providers
For more information on changing home care service providers you are welcome to contact the team at Southcare on 9450 6233 or submit an online enquiry. Our team can answer any questions you may have and assist you in switching providers to Southcare.