Frequent questions

This sounds easy, what could go wrong?

It is easy, not much can go wrong with a home care provider exercising strong disciplines around their management of home care packages as required under the Aged Care Act, and Capital Guardians managing trust money securely, with Westpac as required under the Corporations Act.

Discipline is by all required parties in process and procedure (what we know as the Quality Management System).  One area that is always watched carefully is the timeliness of suppliers invoicing accounts.

If suppliers (ie care providers, cleaners, nurses, etc) do not invoice promptly, then accounts can appear overstated, with account balances higher than they should be.  This would be most obvious when reviewing the budget variance report, where it might be noticed that planned expenditures are missing, where there is knowledge that those services were performed.

Under consumer directed care, home care operators will not have the luxury of compensating for supplier deficiencies in their invoicing (via what accountants know as accruals), rather all suppliers will need to show the same discipline to getting their invoices correct an submitted quickly, as they would giving care services.

The Capital Guardians service will recognise an invoice against the account as soon as it has been submitted online by a supplier, and submitting invoices is “easy”, Capital Guardians can talk to any accounting system and even have invoices entered in under a minute, with one thumb on a smart phone by smaller suppliers with agree fixed prices.

What security is there around who invoices me and what I get charged for?

There is significant protection around invoices on to accounts, as follows:

Supplier Trust.   Whereby care recipients (consumers) do have a say in their suppliers, the home care provider has a legal obligation to ensure the suppliers: comply with the expected standards; offer value for money; are of good character (including recent police checks for anybody visiting a home); and have the capability to provide the full service deemed necessary by the Home Care Provider.  Subsequently, the Home Care Provider will have the first and final say in suppliers.

As such, any suppliers whose integrity may be questioned, will just not last (that is if they get an opportunity to service an account in the first place).  There is a lot at stake for someone doing the wrong thing.

“Transparency”.  Capital Guardians is about transparency, as soon as an invoice has been submitted, then it is visible to all parties, including the care recipient and their representatives.    The Capital Guardians system allows any variance to the budget to be investigated, online immediately by “drilling down” into the expense, right down to the detailed “pdf” (an electronic version of the invoice, that can be printed), online.

Proof of service or good delivery.  As a requirement, all suppliers must be able to keep a record that proves that the good or service was delivered.   As contracted and agreed with the supplier, if there is ever a dispute over an invoice, then they need to provide this evidence or risk the payment not being made or reversed.  As a requirement of the Capital Guardians supplier payment agreement, the Capital Guardians audits also randomly sample suppliers compliance with keeping such evidence.

Finally, Home Care Provider “review” and authorisation of invoices.  As part of the monthly process, home care providers approved all submitted invoices for payment.  Their approval will only come after they review the budgeted amounts, their care plan and general knowledge of the services provided.

What happens to the money when the service is cancelled?

This depends of what the cancelation event is.

  • If you (the “Consumer”) continues to receive a package from the home care provider (at a different package level), any unspent funds from the previous package must continue to be available under the your new package.
  • If you move to a different home care provider (eg to take up a package with another home care provider or to enter residential care), any unspent funds can be retained by the previous home care provider to support service delivery for other Consumers, or for infrastructure purposes.
    • However, if the you return to a package within 28 days, there is discretion for the home care provider to make available the unspent funds in a future package offered to you.
    • There is also the discretion for a home care provider to agree to transfer unspent funds to another home care provider to support your ongoing care needs.  This would need to be negotiated and agreed between the relevant providers, in consultation with you.
  • Any unspent funds remain with the home care provider on the cessation of the Home Care Package where the “Consumer” has passed away.  These funds should be used to support service delivery for other consumers, or for infrastructure purposes.
  • Where you have provided your own money to top-up or purchase additional services through the home care provider, any unspent money provided by the consumer must be returned to the consumer when they leave the package, or to your estate.

How is the balance between personal contributions and government determined when a package is discontinued?

Any additional monetary contribution from you to the home care provider for top up services must be separately identified, either within the individualised budget (if the package is being delivered on a CDC basis) or in separate documentation.  Practically this means:

  1. Certain types of expenses, or a proportion of certain types of expenses are identified and agreed that they will be solely paid for by the personal contributions; or
  2. A separate account and budget is created in Capital Guardians to hold personal contributions, whereby agreed expenses  are charged to the “personal” account.

When opting for option 1.  It is important that written authority is obtained from you.  This authority must be clear enough to provide guidance to calculate the balance of “personal funds” at any point of time.

I don’t have a computer how do I see my statements?

  • any smart phone or tablet
  • relatives / friends
  • where there is an aged care facility, get them to print one
  • request a monthly statement mailed to you at $7

How do I challenge a cost on a suppliers invoice?

Capital Guardians does not check the validity of services or products on suppliers’ invoices.

The care recipient or their representative and Home Care Provider are the only ones who know what services have been requested to suppliers and their frequency. Capital Guardians is not privy to this information, thus cannot validate invoices on behalf or residents and or guardians.

If a care recipient or their representative has a query in relation to a suppliers charge, then they should liaise directly with the supplier and Home Care Provider in relation to the charge.  If it is agreed that a credit is required, then the supplier will credit the resident on the next invoice or statement.

Contractually, all suppliers must keep a “proof of delivery of good or service” record and present it on request. If there is disagreement regarding a charge and the proof of delivery cannot be presented, then Capital Guardians will reverse the charge.  This process is very similar to how credit card companies operate.

Can I look at my account weekly?

Yes, however, not for reliable reporting, rather for invoices that have been submitted.

You can look at invoices as they come in, daily, weekly or monthly, however, all reporting is only provided on a monthly basis, and anything under a month is highly likely to not be complete, unreliable and efforts to make such reporting more reliable are an unnecessary administration burden and not required under the Home Care Package Guidelines set out by the Department of Health and Aging.

When will my monthly accounts be ready to look at?

The monthly accounts will be complete and ready to look at when all the suppliers have their invoices in.  As a starting point, by policy, suppliers need to have their invoices in within 7 calendar days of a calendar month end for services performed in that prior calendar month.

Where this timeline isn’t met, it will become a performance development item for the supplier overseen by the homecare provider as it is part of their service delivery contract, and timely invoicing allows for quick identification of issues and helps everyone, even the supplier to be on top of their game.

All suppliers, big and small are provided with very simple efficient tools within capital guardians to get invoices in, with or without accounting system support.

As soon as a supplier enters an invoice,  you will see it in your reports, it does not necessarily mean the invoice had been accepted by the Home Care Provider and paid, this is an additional process.

My Home Care Provider provides the services themselves, is the Capital Guardians service relevant?

The “Home Care Provider”, may:

  • provide the care services itself; or
  • contract to other organisations for the purposes of providing the care services (known and direct care); or
  • contract out the care planning and management, just keep the administration and governance oversight of the funding.

Regardless, every service type (administration, care management direct care) requires an invoice to the care recipient, even if all the invoices are coming from the Approved Home Care Provider, and they are authorising their own invoices within Capital Guardians.

CDC Home Care packages require invoicing for every level of service, and the need to record every invoice to an account occurs regardless of who performs the service.

What does this cost?

Capital Guardians sole purpose is to keep administration costs down and make things simple, subsequently:

  • Software development was briefed to build a system that was capable of millions of transactions per year and at least 200,000 customers (there are 185,000 aged care residents in Australia).  The application has been built in php (common programming code), with a infinitely scalable sql server database and sits on the world’s largest hosting provider, Amazon, in their Australian hosting facility.
  • The business model is designed to keep the price down (ie $3 per month) to the very minimum and subsequently operates largely automatically with little manual intervention.  Capital guardians have fully automated where possible for adding new users; paying suppliers and record deposits.
  • The  work intensive part of capital guardians is mobilising the service into new communities.  This comprises solely of training , answering queries and change management.  There are no project or consulting costs, typical of information technology projects.

Capital Guardians’ costs are subsequently only the $3 per month, plus a small merchant fee paid by suppliers, an value that represents the value to their organisation in making their billings department more efficient and cheaper.

Is there a complaint procedure if I am unhappy with the service?

Yes, ideally send us an email or call in the first instance, you may be asked to clarify your issues, provide more information and discuss your expectations.  Please provide as much information as you can when you lodge your complaint. This helps us to understand all the issues and determine the most appropriate way to resolve your concern.

Our Complaints Policy is attached, for an insight how we deal with complaints internally.

  Complaints Policy.pdf

Can we leave Capital Guardians if we are unhappy with it?

Yes, just let us know by phone, email or letter. There is no cost and funds will be remitted in 48 working hours of confirming that no suppliers have outstanding invoices (one week).

How is GST treated?

  • The supply of home care services by the service provider will be GST-free under section 38-30 of the A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 (GST Act).
  • A supply of home care is GST‑free if home care subsidy is payable under Part 3‑2 of the Aged Care Act 1997 to the supplier for the care.
  • Eligible services for Part 3.2 Homecare is contained in: Quality of Care Principles 2014, Schedule 3—Care and services for home care services”.

In layman terms “All approved care services provided by any organisation to an individual receiving a CDC home care subsidy are GST free.”

Traditionally, there have been many aged care services providers charging GST, having the Approved Provider claim it back, for a zero sum gain. This practice, albeit, acceptable, is not in the spirit of the new “Living Longer Living Better” reforms as it:

  • is administratively burdensome, causing higher administration costs taking away from the care package value
  • costs the approved provider in loss of cash flow, as the supplier has to be paid, including GST (unfunded) before the GST claim can be lodged.

Our private tax ruling in relation to no suppliers (being the Approved Provider, Brokered services or otherwise), charging GST on any services within a CDC Home Care Package is attached below.

  Private GST Tax Ruling.pdf

Please note, where an individual voluntarily contributes money to their care for services by a home care provider, many services, outside care will need GST to be paid, such as:

  • Monitoring and applying medication
  • Provision of social and community activities, such as companionship or security for clients feeling lonely or vulnerable, or initiating and taking part in craft or reading etc;
  • Provision of rehabilitation services
  • Home help such as domestic chores, gardening or home maintenance, including making beds and general tidying of living quarters;
  • Meal preparation
  • Provision of travel services and transport assistance; and
  • Grocery shopping.

This only impacts individuals who make voluntary contributions to their care, and impacts only the services above, which will have a 10% gst charge on invoices.