Leading care home providers exceeding CMA limit on after-death fees
Three leading care home providers are continuing to exceed a recommended limit on the charging of after-death fees.
Barchester Healthcare, Bupa and HC-One charge for after-death fees for more than the three days recommended by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), according to The Telegraph.
In its guidance on consumer law responsibilities issued last week the CMA said it was unlikely to object to terms which permit a care home to charge fees “for no more than a reasonable short and fixed period of up to three days”.
The Telegraph highlighted that Barchester, Bupa and HC-One all charge for a week after a resident’s death.
A Barchester spokesperson said: “In the light of the CMA’s consultation, we have been looking at whether or not we need to change our policy in respect of these charges. Obviously, the highly detailed guidance issued by the CMA adds another dimension and we will need time to digest its contents.”
An HC-One spokesperson added: “HC-One is committed to ensuring that residents have a positive experience when moving into one of our homes. We do ask for the first month’s payment in advance, in line with common sector practice, but we do not charge our new residents administration fees.
“HC-One’s standard notice period is presently no more than seven days for self-funding residents. This helps to ensure families have enough time to make any arrangements. We, however, always seek to be flexible and will consider individual circumstances and each family’s needs where possible, and if the room is cleared before the seven days’ notice period is over, we will stop charging at that point.
“HC-One takes very seriously its responsibility to always ensure that our residents’ consumer rights are protected. We are constantly reviewing our terms and conditions to ensure that they comply with all issued guidance, and that they are always fair and transparent.”
Bupa added: “In light of the CMA’s new guidance we’re currently reviewing our terms to charge for three days, to give people time to collect their relative’s belongings.”
Maria Mallaband announced in January that it was dropping its after-death fees following the CMA investigation (see Maria Mallaband drops ‘after-death’ fees following CMA action).