Almost 2 years ago we discovered that a faith-based not-for-profit Approved Home Care Provider had secretly added $100 a day to the Daughterly Care Live in Care fee by reporting on the client’s Monthly Home Care Package Statement that the Daughterly Care fee was $100 HIGHER every day than we had invoiced the Approved Provider.
This HIDDEN, UNDISCLOSED Home Care Package fee was in addition to their disclosed administration and case management fees.
The son rang us… and boy was he angry
His conversation with my High Care Case Manager opened with “so when the Government is paying, you charge $100 more a day for your Live in Care service, do you?”
Taken back Jean explained “no, we just have the one fee for our services and we don’t care who is paying – you or the Government, we only charge the one fee”. So we swapped paper work – the son gave us a copy of his Dad’s Home Care Package monthly statement and we gave him a copy of our invoice we had sent to his Approved Home Care Provider. Yes, his Approved Provider had indeed falsely misrepresented the Daughterly Care fee by inflating it by a whopping $100 a day.
“Money for Jam”, as they say.
And the client’s son could clearly see that we had not invoiced the Approved Home Care Provider the extra $100 a day. So he rang his Dad’s Home Care Package Approved Provider and lodged a complaint and requested that the secret, undisclosed $100 per day fee be refunded back to his Dad’s Home Care Package.
Over the last 18 months Daughterly Care has discovered many Old-School Approved Providers are charging our clients (and clients of other private care providers) 10% to 15% pa more than they were invoiced for.
When I first discovered this 10% overcharging, I logically and naively thought it was an accidental, innocent, accounting error where the Home Care Package Approved Provider had deducted the 10% GST charge from the client’s Government Funded Home Care Package.
When I questioned this with one Approved Provider 18 months ago I was told “Kate, you are the only person complaining about this, you’re wrong”. . .
They didn’t tell me what the 10% overcharge was for, neither did they tell me “Kate it’s not GST – you are on the wrong track”.
Yet the problem remained, they were charging my elderly clients 10% more than we had invoiced them for. They weren’t listening and they weren’t explaining it to me or my client. The client and therefore I had no power to negotiate a solution.
Yet a third Home Care Package Approved Provider just quietly refunded the 10% overcharge to ONE of our clients and asked me to stop referring to it as “incorrectly charged GST”. Again they wouldn’t tell me what they called the 10% overcharging error, except to say “it wasn’t GST”.
As of the 27th February 2017 Elders, including our clients, were given the power to transfer their Government Funding to any Approved Provider including Daughterly Care Community Services so I started auditing clients’ Approved Provider monthly statements to help them make the best decision for them. (So far I have advised one client and one prospect to stay with their Current Approved Provider; every other client or prospect has been better off transferring to us.)
On the first statement I audited, I found they had overcharged my client $16,450 for 12 months PLUS they had further overcharged the client 10% of all the care invoices we billed them. So we started questioning the 10% overcharged on Daughterly Care fees again.
I have now been told in writing by the Approved Provider that the 10% overcharge is not GST but instead a “10% handling fee”.
I felt like such a fool.
I am sooo naive.
Here I was thinking it was an innocent, accidental overcharging of the 10% GST…
…only to finally discover it was…
a consciously thought out,
…purposefully hidden in the Daughterly Care fee rather than disclosed alongside the Approved Provider’s administration fees and case management fees, that range from 10% to 53% pa.
So their statement would list our invoice number and our name and then incorrectly charge 10% more.
They were falsely misrepresenting the amount we invoiced and the effect is to make all care suppliers appear 10% more expensive and for the Old School Approved Providers’ fee to appear 10% cheaper than they are.
The written justification for the secret 10% fee was that….
“the true cost of paying Daughterly Care invoices electronically” (the same amount each fortnight!!) costs them more than 20% pa of the cost of the actual care billed. So the client in question has a level 4 package with a dementia supplement, so they are saying it costs them over $10,000 a year to pay 26 invoices electronically i.e. over $384 per invoice.
Mmm, did I tell you the Productivity Commission found that the Government Funded in Home Care industry was too costly, inefficient and provided poor service with a high complaints rate and this is why the Government adopted their recommendations and took power away from the Old-School Approved Providers, and gave that same power to the Elders.. by giving you the ability to transfer your funding from Old-School Approved Providers to a new breed of Approved Providers who are used to operating transparently, are more efficient, offer better value, better service and provide better quality Caregivers?
This undisclosed hidden, secret 10% handling fee:
- was NOT DISCLOSED to the client;
- was IN ADDITION to the fees the Approved Provider had disclosed to the client;
- is HIDDEN in the private care provider’s fee i.e. hidden in Daughterly Care’s fee by falsely inflating our fee.
With Government Funded Home Care Packages, as part of the mandatory Care Planning Process the Government requires the Approved Provider to discuss their care goals and to be “transparent” and give the client a copy of the proposed budget – a budget which will always be wrong when there is a secret, undisclosed Approved Provider fee that is added into the care service provider’s fee falsely inflating and misrepresenting their fee and falsely understating the Approved Provider’s real fee on their statement.
So my question to you is this:
With this background information, in your opinion is it ethical for Approved Providers to hide their fees in the care provider’s fee and not disclose it to their Elderly clients? Please complete this poll so I can let the Government know what the community expects and lobby for your personal view. I believe secret fees should be banned in the aged care industry. Please vote below.
5 May 2017 – Last week, I discovered an Approved Provider is adding $10 per hour to your choice of care supplier in addition to the 35% pa fees they charge. They don’t disclose the $10 per hour fee, only the 35% pa fee.
B.Ec F.Fin CEO & Co-Founder