NDIS Service Providers Cautious Over Complex Needs Pricing Shake-Up
10 December 2018 at 5:11 pm
A pricing-arrangement shake up for National Disability Insurance Scheme service providers working with people with complex needs has been met with caution by some providers who say all the details haven’t been made clear.
Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher announced on Tuesday that a two tiered pricing system for self-care, social and recreational support would be expanded to three tiers. The third tier, for people with very complex needs, will attract a new funding loading of 10.3 per cent.
“The pricing increase recognises that people with complex needs require higher
levels of skilled supports in their NDIS plans,” Fletcher said.
“These changes underscore the Liberal-National government’s efforts to build an agile, competitive market under the NDIS.”
Rob Watkins, the executive director of support services at House With No Steps (HWNS), told Pro Bono News that while the announcement was a step in the right direction, there was a lack of detail around which of its customers would actually qualify for third tier support.
“We’re yet to see whether we’ve got to do our own analysis around the funding increase and whether this meets the needs for our customer cohort,” Watkins said.
He also noted there was no mention of whether HWNS customers would receive more one-on-one support, which was equally as important as price.
“For people in a shared living environment there might be different support needs and typically there may be one person supporting four people, and for people with very complex needs they may need some one-on-one support,” he said.
The proposed changes are due to take effect on 1 February 2019, which for customers who have just undertaken a review of their plan, it would mean the funding may not come into place for a further 12 months.
“That will mean providers such as ours continue to struggle with the price where the customer’s costs exceed the revenue that’s contained in someone’s plan,” Watkins said.
Assistant minister for social services, Sarah Henderson, said the new three-level system reflected the findings of the National Disability Insurance Agency-led pilot program on pricing that engaged providers from states and territories.
“These pricing increases were also informed by consultation with 1,000 stakeholders as part of an Independent Pricing Review, including participants, providers and peak representative bodies,” she said.
While Watkins said he awaited more detail, he added that HWNS enjoyed an open dialogue with the NDIA and hoped they could work together so that results for customers were maximised.
“It’s all about having very good evidence of the support needs of the people we work with, particularly those with challenging behaviors or very complex support needs so we can maximise the outcomes,” he said.