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Victoria in Focus by Sarah Fordyce, June 2023

The Victorian budget, new Social Services Regulations RIS, Workcover premium rises, and group pricing changes kept us busy this past month.
News update
News update

Latest version of CHAP released and other health information

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National COVID-19 Update: Rapid antigen tests can now be claimed by participants

man wearing surgical mask. Text reads COVID-19 news update


What you need to know

  • Participants can claim for rapid antigen tests (RATs) from their core budget to ensure services are able to be delivered safely
  • Participants may also claim for RATs for their workers where this is required to ensure continued services and in line with AHPPC guidance
  • Participants do not need to have a plan review in order to be able to claim
  • NDS has written to the Minister and NDIA outlining the limitations of this approach and requesting urgent action

Yesterday NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds announced that participants are now able to use their core budgets to purchase rapid antigen tests (RATs) to continue to access supports.

Participants are also able to use core funding to purchase a RAT for their disability support worker where this is necessary for continuity of supports, and in line with guidance from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).

While acknowledging the vital role that RATs will play in supporting NDIS participants to safely access the supports they require, NDS is disappointed that there is no mechanism for providers of supports, other than SIL, to claim the significant costs of RATs directly.

Rapid antigen tests for staff are not a ‘nice to have’, they are essential to providers being able to provide safe disability supports to NDIS participants, many of whom have significant medical vulnerability to COVID-19.

Expecting providers to negotiate with participants around essential safety measures and equipment (such as PPE) has proven problematic in the past and has placed participants and their families in the position of having to make decisions between receiving support or receiving support safely. Given the volume of RATs required across some supports, it is likely many participants will need their plans reviewed, creating additional work for the NDIA and unnecessary distress for participants.

This places significant additional administrative burden onto providers, already struggling with managing Omicron outbreaks among participants and in their workforce. NDS has today contacted both the Minister’s Office and the NDIA requesting that a more workable and appropriate mechanism be established as a matter of urgency.

Contact information

For any enquiries, please contact Laurie Leigh, Chief Executive Officer, submit enquiry/feedback