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New care home payment model under discussion

Town hall fountain view
Town hall fountain view

Sheffield City Council is one of a number of councils nationally proposing to change the way that care homes are paid.

The new payment model would mean that residents would pay Sheffield City Council for any contribution that they make towards their fees instead of residents paying their contribution to their care home. The council would then give these contribution payments to the care homes as part of their overall fee.

At the moment, when care home residents are required to contribute towards the cost of their care, their care home invoices them for their contribution and they pay the care home directly.

The proposed changes would ensure consistency with national guidance, allow the council to improve support to vulnerable people and provide improved financial assurance to care home providers.

The change would mean that the council would be aware of anyone struggling to pay their care contributions earlier and be better placed to provider earlier support. The intention is that as part of this change residents and their families will be provided with more timely information and advice including support when claiming benefits, signposting to independent financial advice, and helping to maximise income in support of their residential care costs.

From October to December we will be engaging with care home providers on this proposed change alongside their annual consultation on fees and charging. We will engage with care home residents too.

In February or March 2020, the Council’s Cabinet will approve how the Care Home Payment Model will be implemented in Autumn 2020.

Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said:  “We want effective discussions with care home providers and care home residents to make sure that everyone understands what the new system means for them and what they need to do.

“This change will take some of the administrative burden off care homes but the only difference for residents will be that they pay their contributions to the council and not their care home.

“We will be better able to help those who are vulnerable but in doing so we will also be responsible for recovering  all contributions. We will reduce our financial risk as much as possible by redesigning processes which help home care residents to avoid getting into debt, increasing the use of direct debit payments and electronic mandates and ensuring robust debt collection where people are able to pay.”

The Care Home Payment Model paper is here