Sheffield City Council is one of a number of local authorities nationally changing the way that care homes are paid.
The new Care Home Payment Model will be introduced in Autumn 2020.
The new payment model will mean that residents will 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 will 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 will ensure consistency with national guidance and will allow the council to improve support to vulnerable people who may be struggling to pay their care home contributions and provide improved financial assurance to care home providers.
The change will mean that the council will be aware of anyone struggling to pay their care contributions and be better placed to provide 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 help to maximise income in support of their residential care costs.
Councillor George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care said:
“Our aim as always, is to make sure that sustainable, quality care is in place across the city for our elderly and vulnerable people.
“We are pleased that the discussions with care home providers have been effective as it is important 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 care home residents avoid getting into debt, increasing the use of direct debit payments ensuring robust debt collection where people are able to pay.”
From October to December 2019, the council spoke to care home providers about this proposed change alongside their annual consultation on fees and charging. We are now going to engage with care home residents and their representatives on the new care model and what these changes mean for them.
This change will not affect the amount anyone pays for their care. Residents or their financial representatives will find it straight forward to pay the Council via monthly Direct Debits, as the Council’s preferred payment method. However, other payment options will be available. In the meantime, until informed otherwise, residents or their financial representatives should continue to pay their care home as normal.