WA in Focus August 2023
Well into the second half of the year, NDS in WA has gone through some changes. State Manager Coralie Flatters left NDS at the end of July and we have begun the recruitment process. While that is being sorted out, I am pleased to be acting in the role. Don’t hesitate to contact me for anything. We wish Coralie all the best for her future.
If you have not already seen them, the recent NDS pulse survey has produced some disturbing results. Following the NDIS Annual Price review, we asked providers to tell us about pricing, insurance and the PACE rollout.
Eighty-three per cent of respondents said they are concerned about their ability to deliver disability services using the new price limits set down by the NDIA. There are legitimate fears about financial viability across the sector. In the feedback, respondents repeatedly mentioned discrepancies in the SCHADS Award and the lack of an increase in payment for support coordinators and plan managers.
Worryingly, 32 per cent of respondents had trouble in the last year getting insurance to run their disability services. Not only are the costs of insurance premiums — physical and sexual abuse (PSA) insurance, cyber security insurance, workers compensation, and other forms of general insurance — becoming prohibitive, the requirements set by insurers are increasingly hard to meet.
Fifty-nine per cent of respondents were concerned about adapting to the NDIA’s new payment system, PACE. The main issue is the cost of setting up a new IT system, including training, on already limited budgets.
This is placing increasing pressure on providers to exit the sector.
And we are likely to face new challenges in the next few months as the Royal Commission and the NDIS Review work towards reporting their final findings and recommendations.
The NDIS Review panel has released an interim report, What We Have Heard — Moving from defining problems to designing solutions to build a better NDIS. The document identifies five key challenges and ten priority areas for improvement. The priority areas are:
- applying and getting a plan
- a complete and joined-up ecosystem of support
- defining “reasonable and necessary”
- early childhood supports
- the support and service marketplace
- measuring outcomes and performance
- achieving long term outcomes
- help accessing supports
- supported living and housing
- participant safeguards
NDS continues to contribute to the NDIS review by providing solutions in these priority areas. We recently made submissions about Quality and Safeguarding and Participant Safeguarding, and are working on flexible and differentiated pricing and payment methods.
Another issue identified in the Pulse survey was the long-standing challenge of constant change, especially the unstable shifts in regulations, compliance and expectations. This is a nationwide problem and NDS has been fighting this battle state-by-state on every front.