NDIS prices continue to fall short
The National Disability Insurance Agency has announced NDIS prices for the 2017-18 financial year.
In today’s letter to NDIS providers, NDIA CEO David Bowen stressed the Agency’s commitment to grow the disability services market and strike the right balance between demand and supply.
Chief Executive for National Disability Services, Dr Ken Baker said: "Today’s statement announces price increases which will enable some services to keep pace with inflation, with lesser increases for others and no increase at all for therapy services.
"This is a disappointing result – at a time when the supply of disability supports must expand to meet demand without compromising quality."
There will be a 4.5% increase to prices for supports categorised under ‘Daily activity & community participation’, which includes Supported Independent Living. Capacity-building support prices will rise by 1.94, capital related supports will increase by 2.1% while a decision that will anger many sees no change to therapy supports.
Dr Baker continued: "These pricing decisions effectively ignore evidence provided to a price review earlier this year which promised to test the assumptions that underlie the hourly rate.
"In recent weeks we have made it very clear that the NDIS cannot deliver on its great promise to people with disability and their families unless there is a strong and sustainable disability services sector.
"Late last year, two-thirds of providers reported they were worried they wouldn’t be able to provide NDIS services at the current prices. With almost half saying they were concerned NDIS prices would compromise the quality of supports by forcing them to employ less skilled and experienced staff and lower their supervision ratios. Today’s announcement of 2017-18 prices won’t allay those concerns.
"Let me be clear – NDIS prices are not where they need to be to ensure the highest-quality services for people with disability."
The Agency has also announced an independent price review to be carried out by global management consultancy, McKinsey & Company.
"We welcome this price review and will encourage the cooperation of the disability services sector," said Dr Baker, "Decisions about prices must be based on evidence independently collected. We are pleased this review will look at the case for bringing forward price deregulation, the problematic pricing of respite centres and emergency responses, regional differences in costs, complexity of supports and the need for an adequate profit to enable investment in growth."
Dr Baker concluded, "These are all matters previously raised by National Disability Services. We look forward to this evidence informing future price decisions."
EDIT: NDS has tonight spoken with the ABC and been featured in The Australian (paywall protected).