The all-new NDIS Price Guide – a promise of exciting changes

Increased NDIS payments

Woman smiling excited in front of a computer with her hand together

The Federal Government has announced price increases for NDIS services on 30 March to come into effect on 1 July 2019. The price increases will inject more than $840 million into the NDIS market and we hope this will provide some relief for providers who struggle to deliver financially sustainable, quality services under the current pricing arrangements.

Pricing of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation

The NDIA has published some of the changes ahead of the release of new NDIS Price Guide. Prices of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation will increase as outlined below. The calculations are based on current base prices and the correlating support categories are our interpretation of the NDIA communication.Base prices are the prices stated in the February 2019 Price Guide less the Temporary Support for Overheads (TSO) of 2.5%, which will be removed as of July. The increases are indicative as they do not yet account for indexation for wage inflation.

Level 1 support during WA,SA,ACT,NT (West) NSW/Vic/Qld/Tas, (East) NEW base-price/hour
Weekday Daytime + 5.6 % + 7.6% $50.57
Saturday + 5.6% + 6.7% $69.56
Sunday + 7.9% + 8.4% $90.45
Public Holiday + 11.3% + 11.4% $113.24
Weekday Evening + 6.5% + 8.2% $55.80
Active Overnight + 6.7% + 8.4% $56.84

Details about the increases of High Intensity support (Level 2 and Level 3) have also been published and can be accessed on the NDIS website here. Prices of Group and Short term accommodation supports will increase (details are not yet published), Supported Independent Living (SIL) supports are not impacted.

Temporary Transformation Payments

Providers of Assistance with Daily Living and Assistance with Community Participation will be eligible for an additional Temporary Transformation Payment (TTP)which will replace theTemporary Support for Overheads (TPO).The new payment is set at 7.5% of the relevant level 1 support.The same dollar amount will be added to level 2 and 3 supports. The TTP will reduce by 1.5% each year thereafter however by that time we may find out about a different ‘Temporary Pain Relief Payment’.

We had hoped that things would get easier for providers, yet this payment is conditional to a set of obligations that will be outlined in the new 2019-20 NDIS Price Guide. Providers will be required to publish their service prices, list their contact on the Provider Finder and participate in an annual benchmarking survey. When submitting payments thought the portal, providers will have to acknowledge compliance to these requirements, which indicates that we can also expect changes to the portal.

Pricing of Therapy Services

Therapy services will undergo major price increases with separate price limits for different types of therapies:

  • Psychology to $210/hr in ACT, NSW, QLD and Vic and $230/hr in NT, SA, TAS and WA.
  • Physiotherapy to $190/hr in ACT, NSW, QLD and Vic and $220/hr in NT, SA, TAS and WA.
  • Other therapies will likely increase to $190/hr with further indexation for wage inflation.
  • To promote the usage of Therapy Assistants, the pricing will increase as well.

The new price limits for therapists are also conditional to a range of obligations such as the publication of service prices.

Revised NDIS Policies

Most excitingly, the NDIA has announced a review of policies including cancellations, travel, the use of volunteers and charging for non-face-to face time. Details of the changes have not been published yet. We personally believe that the use of volunteers should be up to the provider, as well as the establishment of cancellation policies (as long as these are in line with current consumer laws). The attempt to unify business rules for every provider no matter its size, shape, location, customer base or type of service is a market control that may deter a vibrant market. We have recently published an article on the impact of the current NDIS Cancellation rules and we are still interested on hearing feedback from providers.

NEW look 2019-20 Price Guide

The NDIA has promised a new look 2019-20 NDIS Price Guide and we are looking forward to the ‘easy to navigate option’. The Price Guide advises providers to claim payment against a support line item that aligns closely to the service delivery. Yet, this can be challenging given that the current Price Guide does not list all services and must to be read in conjunction with the full list published in the Price Guide Support Catalogue (CSV file).

Unfortunately, the new NDIS Price Guide will not be published much in advance as prices and policies are still waiting finalisation. Knowing the Price Guide and its changes a few weeks ahead would greatly assist providers to adapt their documentation, policies, CRM and accounting systems, and to communicate changes to clients to be ready by 1 July.

Service Agreement reviews

‘Do we need to establish new Service Agreements’ is one of the most common questions we hear. Once a client and their provider have signed a Service Agreement, both parties need to adhere to the terms, conditions and prices as outlined in the agreement. Providers cannot increase service prices unless the agreement includes a clause that prices will increase subject to changes to the NDIS Price Guide. If the Service Agreement does allow for price adjustments, the changes still need to be communicated to the client, ideally well in advance. Good communication and transparency are essential in any business relationship. The funding in NDIS plans will increase as of July according to the Price Guide and participants will not be worse off in terms of the volumes of supports they can purchase.

The introduction of new funding rules will most certainly impact on Service Agreements and we are keen to hear some official advice from the NDIA (or lawyers with a consumer law background) on how providers could and should change over to new terms if Service Agreements are already in place based on previous rules.

More NDIA announcements

The NDIA has vowed to improve its provider relationship management and plans to seek industry input and feedback on policy impact. The NDIA has also promised a series of announcements prior to July to give providers an insight into the upcoming changes. We will continue to monitor for new information.

For feedback or consulting support please contact Dr Ellen Schuler.

NDIS consultant

Dr Ellen Schuler
Business Consultant 
Phone: 1300 763 505

What difference will $20k make to your NDIS transition?

woman holding calculator and looking at financials

A new grant program for NDIS transition support launched in late March. NDIS Transition Assistance Funding is available under the Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program, a Commonwealth program administered by EY (Ernst&Young). A NDIS Transition Assistance fund of $5.6m will be distributed through grants of between $5000 to $20,000 for new and existing providers to spend on consulting support.

$20,000 can secure valuable support – so it’s an opportunity well worth pursuing. However, we know that many providers have way more than $20,000 worth of NDIS transition problems. With most states (with the exception of WA) in the advanced stages of NDIS roll out, organisations are continuing to experience NDIS challenges. Extended periods of change and uncertainty have put pressure on internal capability, budgets and resilience, right at the time when organisations need all hands on deck to manage the ongoing organisational transformation.

It’s times like these you might need to bring in outside support. But with limited funds to spend and many problems to tackle, how can you prioritise your precious consulting funds?

Take the time to reflect.

Applying for the Boosting the Local Care Workforce program starts with an online self-assessment of your current capability. This will give you some suggestions of actions to take, but not necessarily a strong sense of priorities.

Look for the greatest return on effort.

There are four principles to keep in mind to make sure your investment in business transformation delivers a strong, positive outcome.

  1. Have you got the foundations in place? We often find organisations jumping straight to solution mode, or wanting to put the icing on the cake, before they’ve really identified the underlying problem, or fixed a fundamental issue (like the financial viability of your services). Having strategy, product and financials in place are the basic foundations for your business. You need to know where you’re heading and why, what you’re offering to the market (and how it fits within the NDIS) and if you can deliver it within NDIS pricing. If you’re not confident in any of these areas, that’s where you should spend your consulting dollars.
  2. Think holistically. Don’t forget about the downstream impacts. Organisation functions don’t exist in isolated boxes. Everything is interlinked. Work with your consultant to identify the potential knock on effects of your problem – or opportunity. For example, we’ve been working with a number of organisations to look at market opportunities under the NDIS. If you enter a new market (either geography, service or client group) or scale up in response to market opportunities, there will be consequences for your organisation in terms of brand, service delivery, staffing etc. as well as operational impacts on infrastructure and systems. Similarly if you develop a wonderful marketing strategy that portrays your organisation as warm and engaging, but your frontline customer service staff are unfriendly, you’ll need to address the whole, end to end customer experience in order to get the most value from your initial marketing project.
  3. How can you get most value from external support? What could a consultant bring that you can’t source from inside your organisation? It could be particular skills, experience, or knowledge; it could be consulting tools that will help you work through a process; it could be objectivity and independence, or any combination of the above. What sustainable benefit will the consultant leave to your organisation? At CBB, we look to transfer skills and understanding to our client organisations as part of our charitable mission to build the sector’s business capability.
  4. What do you need to contribute to get the most out of the support? Some projects lend themselves to the consultant working fairly independently and reporting back to clients (e.g. research and reviews) but for the most part the quality of a consultant’s output will be significantly influenced by the time, information and effort that the client organisation puts into the project too. 

    Openly sharing your information and challenges creates a climate – in both data and relationships – that allows a consultant to deliver a good project that meets your organisation’s needs.

    Anything that involves organisational change requires ownership and leadership from within the organisation. Consultants can help you navigate the process, but ultimately you’ll need to get your hands dirty, so when selecting your consulting project, consider how much people time you can invest in getting a good outcome.

Book a free catch up here 

CBB has been delivering NDIS transition support to providers since 2014. We’ve delivered a range of projects within the $5000 to $20,000 grant size for the NDIS Transition Assistance Fund, including market research, reviews of costing and pricing, strategy and business planning, improvement of business processes, and marketing strategy and plans.

If you’d like further support with any aspect of your business, we have a limited number of free catch ups with CBB Consultants between now and the end of the financial year.

photo of business manager

Jane Arnott
General Manager, Consulting and Business Services
Phone: 1300 284 364

Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program – Transition Assistance Funding Grant

A new grant program has been launched for existing or potential NDIS providers to purchase tailored business supports. The Boosting the Local Care Workforce Program – Transition Assistance Funding Grant program provides one off grants to NDIS providers from $5,000 up to $20,000 (ex GST). This is a national program with a total grant value of $5.6m, so we expect there will be in the region of 280 – 1,120 grants awarded.

Continue reading…

We are all in it together

How to improve the working relationship between NDIA and disability service providers?

disability service providers joining their fists

National Disability Services (NDS), the peak body for non-government disability service organisations released its annual State of the Disability Sector Report in November 2018. Part of the report is an annual market survey conducted by the Centre for Social Impact, in collaboration with NDS’ Centre for Applied Disability Research. In excess of 600 disability service providers responded to the survey representing providers of all shapes and sizes, and with 90% currently providing services under the NDIS.

Continue reading…

NDIS cancellation rules – reasonable and fair for all?

Organisations can suffer serious financial damage if clients fail to keep scheduled services or cancel scheduled services at the last minute. NDIS cancellations are often beyond the control of the client and the service provider. Ill health, hospitalisation, poor weather, lack of transportation or difficulty getting out of bed can make it impossible for clients to attend a pre-booked NDIS support session. Most people have probably forgotten appointments in their lives and sometimes an appointment is simply inconvenient.

Continue reading…

Which CRM/database to use?

The National Disability Services (NDS) ‘State of the Sector’ report highlighted that the number one priority for NDIS providers in relation to improving their business capability in 2019CRM ready, is ‘Information, communications and tech strategy’, ranking ahead of ‘costing and pricing’ and ‘HR strategy and workforce planning’.

Over the last months, CBB has facilitated a review of some of the many Customer Relationship Management (CRM)/database products on the market that purport to be NDIS-ready, to assist NDIS providers to understand which products should be on their radar.

To receive a copy of the full report, add your details here.\

Continue reading…

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Framework: Best practices for preventing compliance toothaches

Just like the recall letter for a dental check-up NDIS providers in SA and NSW have recently received their letter from the NDIS Commission outlining the start date for registration renewal. TheNDIS quality application for renewal will involve a self-assessment followed by a field audit conducted by a NDIS Commission-approved NDIS quality auditor.

While some providers are already expected to start the process by October, others are due for their check-up in 2019. Most providers are aware that the new Quality & Safeguards Framework has introduced a list of requirements however we have noticed some misconceptions about compliance which we aim to brush away:

Misconception # 1: You only brush your teeth when you see the dentist.

Continue reading…

Supercharging your customers’ NDIS goals

Over the next 18 months while NDIA struggles to catch up with the delayed NDIS roll-out nationally, we expect that the quality of formal NDIS plans being generated by planners will continue to be mostly sub-standard, simply because planners can’t afford adequate time to facilitate thorough planning.

What to do?

Well, in NSW and SA, NDIS providers are already compelled to prepare a participant ‘Support Plan’ in relation to the services they are providing, per the NDIS Commission’s Practice Standard Core Module Part 4 section 19. The Support Plan must support achievement of goals as described in a client’s NDIS plan.

We suggest that this is the perfect opportunity to address any shortcomings of the NDIS plan, and to get to know your customer better by working with them to prepare a good quality plan for the services that you will provide them. Naturally your support plan will need to link to the all-important funded goals in the NDIS plan, but this is an opportunity to go much further and breathe life into the NDIS participant’s life aspirations.

What does a good quality person-centred plan look like? A good plan will articulate SMART goals, something we see only occasionally in NDIS plans. Continue reading…

Seven key actions to deliver the NDIS sustainably

Prof Bruce Bonyhady is Executive Chair and Director of the Melbourne Disability Institute, an inter-disciplinary research institute at the University of Melbourne, and was the inaugural chair of the NDIA from 2013 to 2016. As one of the original architects of the NDIS, Prof Bonyhady still holds true to the founding principles, which are becoming somewhat lost in the face of a very challenging implementation schedule. Prof Bonyhady spoke at a recent CBB event for disability service providers in South Australia. Here are his recommended actions that governments should take in order to get back on track and deliver the NDIS sustainably, many of which are aligned to the conclusions of the Productivity Commission Review of NDIS Costs, published late last year. Continue reading…

NDIS: not business as usual – NDIS invoicing and payment requests

On 19 July the NDIS announced changes to the provider and participant portal.  Providers and participants will now be able to edit, or immediately cancel, service bookings. If the provider rejectsNDIS invoicing and payment requests a revision, a reason or explanatory note can be posted.

These are major improvements to NDIS service bookings which we discussed in the second instalment of this three part series. NDIS processes are constantly evolving. It highlights the need for providers to stay up to date and to readily adapt their processes and procedures. Ensure staff roles are clearly defined – who keeps abreast of NDIS changes, who updates procedures and who communicates changes to staff, and potentially to your clients?

In this third and last instalment we discuss NDIS invoicing and payment requests for your service delivery. We also give ideas on how your organisation can create a focus on continuous improvements to your NDIS business processes. Continue reading…