1st April marks the start of a new financial year and many of the costs of daily life increase. For care providers however and the people that they care for there is often silence from the NHS as to how these extra cost of caring, including increases in the National Minimum Wage, are going to be met. For example all CCGs should have announced the new Continuing Healthcare (CHC) fee rates for care home residents who have a primary nursing need and are eligible for CHC funding.
Professor Martin Green OBE, Care England Chief Executive, says:
“Increase or no increase, these rates should have been shared with care providers by now. It is impossible to properly plan, and meet care needs without knowing what the funding will be. Care homes need to ensure their sustainability and the NHS must engage with providers early to identify costs of care and assure themselves that residents’ care needs are met”.
As at 3 April 2019, the majority of CCGs are yet to announce how they will increase fees leaving residents and providers in an invidious situation. NHS guidance shows that fees need to reflect inflation 3.9%, move Quality (CQUIN) payments of 1.25% into base rates and offer an additional CQUIN 1.25% to providers for quality targets.
Martin Green continues:
“Often providers find that CCGs haven’t even discussed or agreed CHC rates or CQUINs with providers by April. This income cannot be recovered as time passes and is therefore retained by CCGs rather than paid to providers, yet providers need and want to fulfil their obligations to care. I would urge providers to look at Care England’s guidance on this matter”.
Guidance can be found at http://www.careengland.org.uk/news/cquin-and-nhs-inflation-201920-care-england-briefing