Care Home ‘Top Up Fees’ – What are they and what are your rights?
More and more of our clients are coming to us complaining that Care Homes are charging their loved ones ‘top up’ fees.
What are top up fees?
The local Council contributes towards a Care Home’s resident fees when they meet certain criteria (having severe care needs and/or assets below certain amounts).
More and more Care Homes are telling patients that they will look to charge them additional amounts beyond what the Council is charging them. This means the Council can be paying (for example) £800 per week on behalf of a patient, but the Care Home will look to invoice the patient a further amount of (say) £200 per week.
What is the legal position on top up fees?
The Competition and Markets Authority published guidance in November 2018 which stated:
“You are not allowed under NHS rules 139 to ask residents in receipt of CHC or their families to make top-up payments towards the cost of the care package that has been agreed between you and the appropriate NHS funding body (such as the local Clinical Commissioning Group in England, Local Health Board in Wales, or HSC Trust in Northern Ireland)”
Despite, and contrary to this guidance, Care Homes are continuing to charge top up fees to patients.
There has yet to be any binding Judgments from the Courts on this issue, but it appears likely that Care Homes are opening themselves open to challenges by patients and their loved ones to recover any top up fees paid.
If you or anyone you know has been charged top up fees by a Care Home, make an appointment to speak with our expert Care Home team today on either 01270 610300 or 01270 212000.