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DHB Defends Changes To Home Support Funding

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
DHB Defends Changes To Home Support Funding

Wellington, Sept 3 NZPA - A move by Capital and Coast District Health Board (DHB) to means test people who get basic home help brings it in line with other DHBs and will affect significantly fewer than 500 people, the board says.

Opposition MPs reacted strongly today to a report that up to 500 elderly or disabled residents were set to lose their access to free household management help as the DHB moves to cut costs.

Labour Party aged care spokeswoman Winnie Laban, who has been reviewing the state of the aged care industry with Green MP Sue Kedgley, said any cuts in home support would be disastrous for those who relied on it and would lead to more accidents happening in homes.

Ms Kedgley also said targeting the elderly in cost cutting would backfire and end up costing the DHB more in the long run.

The DHB said it provided home support and health care to about 3000 people at no cost to them. That ranged from minor housework, shopping or lifting, to long-term personal care, including health care.

It would in the future move to a system where those receiving only household management support, not personal assistance support, would need to hold a valid Community Services card.

The DHB's planning and funding director Sandra Williams said Capital and Coast was the only one in the country not to take such an approach, and the change was needed to ensure funding went to those with the highest need amidst what were tight financial times at Capital and Coast.

A DHB spokeswoman said means testing was in place up until 2005 and the board was reverting back to that.

She said new referrals would start to be affected almost immediately, while existing clients would start being affected from December 1.

While there were about 500 clients receiving only household management support it was expected a significant amount of them would already hold a Community Services card and nothing would change for them.

Meanwhile, the Aged Care Association of NZ and 20 DHBs will next week present findings of their Aged Residential Care Service Review.

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