COVID-19 and Care Fees
Samantha Lowthorpe, 21st May, 2020
Unfortunately, the current Covid 19 pandemic has raised cause for several concerns for those with medical and care needs. One concern surrounds the funding of such care requirements.
Unfortunately, as with a lot of other aspects Covid 19, has affected the process in which assessments take place by the Local Authority and NHS to determine whether a person needs to pay for care.
Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have a legal obligation to carry out a needs assessment and create a care and support plan to identify a person’s needs and determine whether the need for care is primarily health or social in nature.
If it is believed that a person may have a primary health need then the local authority should carry out an NHS Continuing Healthcare checklist. If this is positive, a full assessment should be carried out between the local authority and local Clinical Commissioning Group.
If the need is found to be social or following either the checklist or the full assessment no health-based needs are found, only then should a financial assessment take place to determine whether a person must pay for their own care. However, as a result of the current pandemic the Coronavirus Act 2020 was passed at the end of March 2020, allowing the Local Authority to deviate from the need to carry out the assessments if demand and pressures in the current period means that the Care Act services cannot be delivered. Further, they state that the Local Authority are not obliged to comply with the financial assessment at this time.
In reality what should happen is that local authorities should carry out an NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist to determine whether there may be a healthcare need, so that a full assessment will take place when the Local Authorities are under less pressure. As the assessments are currently suspended there is no way for the person to qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare funding right now but the Local Authority should be aware that this assessment will need to take place once things have calmed down. However, because they may have a healthcare need the local authorities will not be prepared to assist them, until the results of the full assessment are known.
More recently, the Government have introduced an Emergency Covid-19 Fund that allows Health & Social Care Professionals to request that the Emergency Fund be used to pay for a persons care on discharge from Hospital. However, this does not remove the issues that will arise once the Emergency Fund is withdrawn and there is still a backlog of assessments to take place.
This means that if a person needs care and they own assets over £23,250 (see blog about paying for care), they may be required to pay for their own care until the assessments can take place. If NHS Continuing Care should have been provided the care paid for will be reimbursed. However, it is not clear when these assessments will commence and when, if at all the cost of care will be reimbursed.
More worryingly, those clients with little or no assets, who would normally rely on local authority funding if they did not qualify for NHS continuing care funding, may not be supported and may not have any ability to pay for their care and where the Emergency Fund is not offered to them by the Health & Social Care professionals.
If you have any concerns about your own care or that of a loved one, please get in touch today...
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