The growth and adoption of the NDIS by service providers and participants has once again increased. As at 30 June 2018, there were 183,965 Australians being supported by the NDIS, representing a 13 per cent growth on previous quarter. Of the 54,802 participants or almost 1 in 3, are new to the scheme and had not previously received State/Territory or Commonwealth support before the NDIS.
For disability workers and service providers working in the NDIS, their workplace is more than somewhere to go. But the sector has a reputation of having poor staff attraction and retention issues, job insecurity, pressure to deliver services to a price, and staff churn.
A previous National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing, found that one in five of Australian adults had a mental disorder in the previous 12 months and that almost half the total Australian population would experience a mental disorder at some time in their lives.
In years to come future generations will scratch their heads and wonder aloud: Why did it take so long for us to take a quality approach to the care and well-being of people with disabilities seriously?
Despite the many millions of dollars and days Australians have donated and volunteered collectively over the decades, somehow it’s taken us until July this year to introduce a nationwide benchmark.
It’s a potentially catastrophic mistake to treat the self-assessment elements of NDIS registration as a tick-and-flick bureaucratic chore. The self-assessment questionnaire that forms part of the application process is daunting and requires some homework and preparation, as you would expect from a Quality standard as rigorous as the NDIS has implemented.
Human rights underpin the NDIS legislation and are the foundation on which the shift to the self-directed, person-centred approach is grounded. In the past disability care has had an uneven power base. Now it’s the participant who has the power. Disability support providers need to work with the needs of the participant in this new person-centred and customer-centric ethos of the National Disability Insurance Scheme.
The future and present employment prospects of thousands of Australians are being transformed by the NDIS, figures show. Disability care is taking the crown that once adorned the mining boom.
Even with the NDIS fully rolled out in only two states (NSW and South Australia), more than 14,271 service providers are now approved to deliver disability supports. This is an increase of 64% since 30 June 2017.
There’s a new dawn for disability care in Australia, but the horizon remains unclear for service providers.
The Quality and Safeguarding Framework (QSF) will eventually yield a nationally consistent set of standards governing the procurement and provision of services funded by the NDIS. But it is still a work in progress, with many of its components under review.
According to the National Disability Insurance Agency there is expected to be huge growth in the number of NDIS service providers and only the most effective and efficient will be viable. Today there are over 100,000 people with Disabilities on the NDIS and predictions are for over 400,000. There are currently 11,000+ service providers now and the expectation is that there will be a quadrupling of the number of providers, employing some 70,000 staff. Using the same growth factor, massive change is coming.
The change to the NDIS in the disability services provider market within Australia has forced providers to look at their viability and quality standards, and organisations must adapt to a new person-centric business model or perish.
With the release of the McKinsey ‘Independent Pricing Review’ recommendations recently there is now need for even more clarity over pricing and claims. McKinsey & Company stated in their Report that the "recommendations will have a positive impact on provider economics, improving overall industry margins by 2% to 4%, with even higher margin improvements for providers serving participants with complex needs or in rural, remote and very remote areas".
On 5 - 6 March, we attended the NDS QLD Conference to showcase Centro FREE to disability service providers. Pricing is one of the main issues impacting service providers and there was a lot of buzz at the conference with McKinsey & Company announcing the 'Indepdent Pricing Review' just before.