Member Update: NDIA information on latest Price Guide

QDN is updating members about information the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) has released about the latest Price Guide, which will come into effect as of 1 July 2018.

The Price Guide is a summary of the NDIS price limits and controls.  It is designed to assist participants and disability support providers, to understand the way that price controls for supports and services work in the NDIS.

The NDIA Board engaged McKinsey & Company in June 2017 to undertake an Independent Pricing Review and the NDIA has endorsed a large number of the recommendations made from this review.

The Independent Pricing Review is a key driver to ensure adequate support is available for NDIS participants and to meet their short and long term needs, particularly during transition.

NDIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rob DeLuca has written a communication to providers to update them on the Independent Pricing Review (IPR). The NDIA see the review of prices is important in delivering value for participants, particularly during transition. QDN sees that it is critical that the NDIA, in their role as market stewards, can ensure that people with disability have true choice and control in the market place. Adequate pricing that enables organisations to operate and deliver quality services to people with disability is important part of creating that strong market place. The time of transition is a complex environment, and QDN will continue to work with the NDIA and Commonwealth and State Governments to ensure that a strong, diverse and vibrant market is available to all Queensland participants in the NDIS.

QDN is providing the following information for members around the key changes and information that relate to people with disability from the information available from the NDIA.

Key Highlights and Changes

Price increases.

·         Total of 7.64% increase for standard intensity attendant care with daily personal activities and assistance of community participation.

·         New Temporary Support Overhead (TSO) of 2.5% loading for assistance with daily personal activities and assistance with community participation, to give providers temporary support for the overhead costs for providers.  However, this will be reduced to 1.25% for 2019 – 2020.

·         5.14% increases to align with the growth in wages under the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Industry (SCHADS) Award as well as the Equal Remuneration Order (ERO) by Fair Work Australia.

Adjustment to Participant Plans and Participant Budgets

Participant Plans will be adjusted to match the increases for their disability supports and ensure they maintain the power to purchase they support they need that is reasonable and necessary.

So NDIS participants are not impacted by the price increases for support, automatic adjustments will be made to participant’s budgets and service bookings.  These adjustments will reflect the increase in support costs as a result of price increases.

There will be automatic updates to participant budgets and service bookings from 1 July 2018.

Other changes, such as cancellation and travel can not be readily adjusted but the NDIA have stated that they will monitor this closely for individual participants to ensure they are not adversely affected.

Improvements to portal and payment

The NDIA will continue to deliver improvements to the provider portal, payment processes and continuous development of tools that will support and assist the provider.  The NDIS will work with providers to build on the work that has already been done and to improve their efficiency and for participants this will mean that providers are able to undertake their work working with more effective systems and the time it takes to perform these functions of the business, and for participants who are self-managing, these more effective systems will deliver better end user experiences.

Community Participation

There will be a more clarity and flexibility for NDIS participants and support providers around group community participation supports available.  This includes an allowance for capital costs when supports are provided at a specialist centre. There is also a new item called “Community Engagement Assistance” which is identified in the ‘program to empower participants and improve interactions between participants and their social networks.’ QDN understands that this is focused on a group approach to support.

Support in Short Term Accommodation

The existing Short Term Accommodation price limits will now allow a ration of 1:3 support worker to participant.  This adjustment is to allow more flexibility to providers and participants in making support arrangements.

Cancellation of support

When support is cancelled after 3pm the day before, the service provider will be able to charge up to 90% of the service fee, up to 12 sessions of Core Supports per year and up to 6 hours for therapy per year. QDN would suggest that members look at how this fits with the current arrangements they have with their current service providers.

Recommendation Delay

Changes to the NDIS Pricing specifically for therapy support, that were to be implemented on 1 July 2018, will now be delayed until further consultation has been done by McKinsey & Company.  The growth rate to 30 March 2018 for therapy providers has increased from 3560 to 7161 and are the single largest group of registered service providers across Australia.  It is expected this number will increase now that Western Australia has now come on board and the NDIS is fully national.

Therapy pricing is complex, with different types of therapy to be considered, different therapy prices in each state and territories, and added costs for participants living in remote areas.  Consultation will be held with provider groups and experts from the sector prior to implementation of the adjustments to costing.  It is expected this will be implemented by the end of 2018.

You can find further information about the Independent Pricing Review here.