Putting the NDIS Cancellation Policy into Practice

Rob Scott

Written on 29 July, 2022
Last-minute cancellations and no-shows can disrupt your team’s workdays, your clients’ supports and your financial planning. They also leave you with a tough question to answer: do you charge the client?

Fortunately, the NDIS provides clear guidance on when you can and can’t claim for participant cancellations and no-shows — although, as always, you can opt for a more generous approach if you wish.

Read on as we break down the most recent version of the NDIS cancellation policy, along with tips for putting it into practice.

What is the NDIS Cancellation Policy?

The NDIS cancellation policy distinguishes between standard cancellations and “Short Notice Cancellations”. When a cancellation is considered short notice, and certain other conditions are met, you can claim 100% of the agreed fee for the support. However, if it’s a regular cancellation with plenty of notice, you cannot claim for any of the fee. 

So, determining whether you can claim for a cancelled support comes down to two questions: is it short notice? And does it meet the required conditions?

What is a Short Notice Cancellation?

A cancellation is short notice when the participant either gives less than seven clear days’ notice or does not attend the support within a reasonable time.

For example, if the participant arrived for their support 40 minutes late, you could consider it a short notice cancellation. Similarly, if they had a support scheduled for Thursday at 9am, and they gave notice the week before at 3pm on Thursday, it would be short notice.

What Required Conditions Have to Be Met to Claim for Short Notice Cancellations?

You cannot claim for every short notice cancellation. It has to meet several important criteria first. You can only claim a short notice cancellation if: 

  • The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits guide says you can. The support item has to be eligible for claiming for short notice cancellations, and the charges also have to comply with the limits.

  • The service agreement that you and the participant signed says you can claim for short notice cancellations. 

  • You have to pay the support worker and are unable to find alternative billable work for them.

There’s one exception to the final bullet point: you can also bill for short notice cancellations for group supports where you’re unable to find a replacement participant. In this case, you should charge all participants, both those who cancelled and those who attended, the planned rate.

The NDIS Cancellation Policy: 2022 Updates 

If you thought the NDIS short notice policy was less generous than this, that’s because it has only recently been updated. The NDIS used to consider a cancellation short notice if less than two days’ notice was given. As of the 1st of July 2022, however, that period has been extended to seven days. You can read more about the changes in our guide to the 2022 NDIS price arrangements policy update.

How to Claim for Short Notice Cancellations

Claiming for short notice cancellations is relatively simple. The support item remains the same, but you need to mark it as a cancellation when making a payment request via PRODA. You should also record an NDIS cancellation reason.

Fortunately, if you’re bulk claiming invoices to save time, you can still include the invoices for cancellations in the same file. Your invoicing software may be able to automate this process.

4 Best Practices for Handling NDIS Cancellations 

  1. Decide on Your Policies

The NDIS cancellation policy determines what you can legally claim for, but you may decide to craft a less strict policy, e.g. by requiring less notice or allowing for rebookings instead of cancellations.

  1. Clearly Communicate Your Policies

Make sure your policies are included in your service agreements and that clients understand them. You should also give your clients a reasonable amount of notice ahead of amending any policies, even if the changes are in line with updates to the NDIS pricing arrangements.

  1. Investigate Frequent Cancellations

As the NDIS says, “Providers have a duty of care to their participants and if a participant has an unusual number of cancellations, then the provider should seek to understand why they are occurring.” 

Make sure to log the reasons for cancellations and speak to the client and/or their family if cancellations become a regular occurrence. When a participant habitually cancels, they may need additional accommodations or a different type of support (e.g. at-home supports or transport). Alternatively, a different day or time might work better for them and reduce the number of cancellations. 

  1. Create a Policy for Support Worker Cancellations

The NDIS cancellation policy centres around participant cancellations. However, you should also create an in-house policy for when your support workers need to cancel. Things to consider include providing alternative support workers and rebooking options.

A Well-Designed System to Reduce Disruption

In an ideal world, there would be no cancellations or no-shows: clients would always be available, support workers would never be ill and scheduled supports would go ahead as planned. In the real world, however, cancellations are an inevitable part of running an NDIS provider support service.

What doesn’t need to be inevitable is disruption or confusion. A well-designed system with clear policies will help you handle cancellations and no-shows with limited effort on your part. Support workers and clients will be automatically notified, invoices and claims will be adjusted in seconds and an accurate record will be created for yourself, the client and the NDIS.

Our NDIS software will help keep your business running smoothly. It has an intuitive system that allows you to cancel shifts, rebook them and notify staff with a few clicks of a button, so that everyone has as much notice as possible. You can select whether clients should be charged and support workers paid, as well as add an NDIS cancellation reason that will automatically be added to your bulk claim file for claiming payments. 

Discover how ShiftCare NDIS software can simplify your processes with a free trial.

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