Rapid Antigen Tests for Home Care Packages Program

The Australian Government is taking action to ensure adequate supply of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) for the community including those providing and receiving in-home care.

Date published:
Type:
Subscriber announcement
Audience:
Health sector

The Australian Government recognises the hard work of the in-home and community aged care sector throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and their continued efforts to provide necessary services to senior Australians to stay safely in their homes.

The Government is taking action to ensure adequate supply of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) for the community including those providing and receiving in-home care. The Government continues to assess the need for additional measures for high risk groups in light of the current Omicron outbreak.

Providers may choose to conduct testing of direct care home care workers as part of their COVID Safe plan, to ensure the ongoing provision of safe care for senior Australians. Home Care Package (HCP) providers who test home care workers can access support to cover the costs of purchasing RAT kits for this purpose. Workers should not need to be tested more than once per day and may wish to carry photographic proof of a negative test. Responsibility for the supply of RAT kits and oversight of testing for workers should generally sit with the provider, not the care recipient.

HCP providers can use HCP funds to cover the costs of purchasing RAT kits:

  • Care management fees may be temporarily increased to cover the costs of purchasing RAT kits for testing of home care workers. Providers must notify affected care recipients of the increased fee and give them an opportunity to opt out. Costs must be reasonable and justifiable.
  • Providers can use HCP funds to reimburse care recipients for RAT kits purchased by the care recipient where they are used to meet the person’s aged care needs, such as supporting delivery of aged care services. Where a care recipient requires RATs for personal use, most will be to access free RATs under the Government's provision for concession card holders.

Further guidance is available on the Managing home care through COVID-19 webpage.

HCP providers who have been directly impacted by COVID-19 (have staff or clients who have tested positive to COVID-19 or are in isolation due to COVID-19 exposure) may be eligible to apply for the  COVID-19 Aged Care Support Program Extension grant (GO4863). This grant reimburses approved aged care providers for eligible expenditure incurred in managing the direct impacts of COVID‑19. For more information  see the Grant Opportunity Guidelines and Frequently Asked Questions on GrantConnect.

The Government continues to adjust guidance and consider additional measures as circumstances change.