CMA Guidance – what is it, what does it mean and what has Somerset Care actioned in respect of it?
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have published guidance for care home providers to improve transparency and make it easier for people to understand and compare their services and prices with other providers.
As supporters of transparency in the care industry, Somerset Care welcomes this focus, and indeed, we have published our fees online for a number of years now for this very reason. To make life easier for customers and to ensure we are fully compliant, we have made a few minor changes, these are;
- We have reviewed and updated our contracts to ensure that it is clear what is and isn’t included in our weekly fees (you can see this list here).
- We have separated out our fees information so that it is easier to see the difference between residential, nursing and dementia care.
- We have amended our website to make it clearer that all of our homes accept both private and local-authority funded residents.
- We already publish our fees on our website; these can be found on each of our care home’s pages. We have, however, amended our wording to make it clear that our fees vary depending on the sizes of the rooms, whether they have en-suite facilities and depending on the level of care needed. People’s needs may change while they are supported by us, and as our homes charge different rates of fees for residential, nursing and dementia, this may mean a change in the fees that you pay: we use a dependency tool to assess for changes in level of care needs.
- We will be shortly adding a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page to help answer any queries you may have.
The CMA guidance also covers deposits and upfront fees; before you move into the Home, we ask for a security deposit of 2 weeks fees, this is intended to protect the Home against non-payment of fees and any damage that may be caused by you to your room or the Home. We will return the deposit (or the balance of it, if applicable) to you within 28 days of the end of the contract (more information on this can be found in clause 5 of the contract). Fees for the home are payable in advance, and can be paid by direct debit, credit card or cheque.
The CMA want care homes to be more transparent about the fees that may be charged after the death of a resident. At Somerset Care, we charge fees for 3 days from the date of death. Whilst belongings are in the room, we need to continue to charge until either they are removed or for up to a further 7 days – whichever is less. If it isn’t possible to empty the room during this time, and we appreciate that this can be difficult, you can get in touch with us and arrange to extend this period. You can find more information on this in our contract.
We appreciate that any legal document, such as a contract, can sometimes be difficult to fully understand, and we want to be sure that ours make sense to you, and is easy to follow. For this reason, we would urge you to raise any queries with us at any time and we will always be happy to expand and explain this further.