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SWD invites eligible elderly persons to apply for third batch of vouchers under Pilot Scheme on Residential Care Service Voucher for the Elderly
     The Social Welfare Department (SWD) today (January 16) invited eligible elderly persons to apply for the third batch of vouchers under the Pilot Scheme on Residential Care Service Voucher (RCSV) for the Elderly.

     The Scheme, adopting the "money-following-the-user" principle, provides an additional choice for elderly persons in need of residential care service by allowing them to choose the residential care services provided by eligible residential care homes for the elderly (RCHEs) under the Scheme according to their needs.

     A spokesman for the SWD said that the Scheme is being implemented in three phases, with different types of RCHEs joining the Scheme as recognised service providers (RSPs) in each phase. A total of 3 000 RCSVs will be issued to eligible elderly persons in five batches within a period of three years from 2017 to 2019. The first phase and the second phase were launched in March 2017 and September 2017 respectively, and there is a total of 82 RCHEs participating as RSPs offering beds which accept voucher holders as at today. The RSPs are RCHEs providing non-subsidised residential care places which include subvented homes, contract homes, non-governmental organisation-run self-financing homes and EA1 RCHEs under the Enhanced Bought Place Scheme (EBPS).

     Invitation letters were sent today to eligible elderly persons, i.e. those who have been assessed as moderately impaired under the SWD's Standardised Care Need Assessment Mechanism for Elderly Services and waitlisted for care-and-attention (C&A) places under the Central Waiting List (CWL) for Subsidised Long Term Care Services for the Elderly, with application dates on or before the end of March 2017 (not including those who are RCSV holders, and those whose status on the CWL is "inactive" or who are offered subvented/subsidised placement). They may consider applying for the third batch of RCSVs by February 12.

     The spokesman said that a maximum of 500 vouchers is available for application in the third batch. If the number of applications received upon the close of application exceeds the quota, the applications will be prioritised according to the applicants' position on the CWL and Comprehensive Social Security Assistance status. Successful applicants will be issued with RCSVs from March 2018 onwards.

     Under the principle of "users pay in accordance with affordability", the Scheme adopts a sliding scale of co-payment at eight levels (Level 0 to Level 7). Elderly persons will be assessed on an individual basis in the means test in which both income and assets will be taken into account in determining the co-payment level. The payment percentages of the elderly users range from 0 per cent at the lowest to 75 per cent at the highest. The less an elderly person can afford, the more the Government will subsidise. Under the Scheme, the voucher value, which is adjusted annually, is pitched at $12,609 per month for 2017-18. 

     The RSPs will provide a "standard service package" under the voucher value for RCSV holders. The scope of the package is comparable to that of subsidised C&A places under the EBPS. The RCSV holders and their family members may make top-up payments to purchase enhanced or value-added services, such as an upgraded dormitory or acupuncture from RSPs, up to an amount equivalent to 75 per cent of the voucher value in force.

     The spokesman added, "Under the Scheme, the SWD will provide a case management service for the RCSV holders to assist them in selecting suitable RSPs, and provide follow-up support after their admission to RSPs, such as conducting regular visits to them, monitoring their adjustment to the new environment and helping them change RSPs when necessary.

     "The Scheme will provide a six-month trial period for first-time RCSV holders. An RCSV holder's status on the CWL will be changed to 'inactive' once a voucher is issued to him or her. If the RCSV holder decides to opt out of the Scheme during or upon expiry of the trial period, his or her status on the CWL will then be 'reactivated'. If the RCSV holder decides to continue to stay in the Scheme after the trial period, his or her application on the CWL will be closed."

     If elderly persons who have received the invitation letters or their carers have enquiries on the Scheme, they may call the RCSV Office of the SWD at 3107 3280 or 3107 3290. The telephone lines will be operating from 9.30am to 1pm and 2.30pm to 5pm on Mondays to Fridays, except public holidays.

     For details of the Scheme and the list of RSPs, which will be updated from time to time, people may visit the SWD website (www.swd.gov.hk). Moreover, citizens may also browse the SWD Elderly Information Website (elderlyinfo.swd.gov.hk) to get more details on topics such as manpower and facilities about each of the RSPs.
Ends/Tuesday, January 16, 2018
Issued at HKT 15:18
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