Disability providers unhappy with NDIS pricing
20 November 2019 at 5:17 pm
A new report warns disability services are under threat without changes to the NDIS pricing system
More than half of disability providers fear they won’t be able to offer National Disability Insurance Scheme services under current prices, according to a new survey.
National Disability Services’ survey of 667 providers found that many organisations believed administrative and service delivery costs were not reflected in the NDIS pricing limits – which set the maximum prices providers can charge scheme participants for specific supports.
These concerns are set to be addressed through an NDIS pricing review, which was announced by the Morrison government on Wednesday.
NDS CEO David Moody said gaps in the scheme meant many providers needed to help people navigate the NDIS system without any expectation of payment.
The peak body’s State of the Disability Sector report said three quarters of providers believed this made it more difficult for them to deliver services to people with disability.
He said there was also a “disturbing trend” towards a casualisation of the disability workforce.
“It’s only early days in terms of that trend but we want to work with the government and the Fair Work Commission… to ensure employees can see a path towards remaining in the sector for an extended period of time,” Moody told Pro Bono News.
“The other issue is that an increasingly casualised workforce threatens the continuity of support the person with disability receives.”
Moody said 52 per cent of providers were worried that the current pricing system meant they would be unable to provide vital NDIS services including transport.
“Without transport, some people with disability will struggle to travel to other services,” he said.
NDIS Minister Stuart Robert moved to assuage these fears with the announcement of an NDIS pricing review, which will look at current price limits and related policies to ensure they were appropriate.
Robert said setting price limits was a difficult balancing act.
“On the one hand, people with disability need to be able to obtain reasonable value for money,” Robert said.
“On the other hand, you need to enable providers to operate sustainably and within a market of adequate size, quality and return.”
The review follows action taken by the government in June to double the loadings on price limits for remote and very remote services, and increase the provider travel claim cap.
The government also earlier this year announced an $11 an hour rise for therapy supports, and a price rise of up to 15.4 per cent for attendant care providers.
Besides pricing, disability providers also expressed concerns about their ability to work with the National Disability Insurance Agency.
Just 22 per cent of survey respondents felt the NDIA had a high level of respect for service providers.
But Moody said he believed this could change for the better with the recent appointment of Martin Hoffman as NDIA CEO.
“We look forward to working with Martin Hoffman. I know he had an opportunity to see the results of the survey and having spoken with him on several occasions now, I’m confident he’s committed to helping the agency better connect with the sector,” he said.
“And I would say stakeholder engagement is a key role of the NDIA.”