What The New NDIS Price Guides Mean For Disability Support Providers
On July 1st, the NDIS Price Guide 2020-21 and Support Catalogue came into effect. Once a year, the Government reviews existing pricing structures, assesses what’s working, what could be improved, and what changes could be made to better serve both community and disability support providers. Prices also take into consideration the Fair Work Commission’s Annual Wage Review, ensuring they reflect the costs incurred by service providers, movement in the Consumer Price Index and changes to the NDIA’s Disability Support Work cost model.
This year of course, COVID-19 has thrown so many plans and processes out of the window, and disability service providers have had to scramble to adjust the way they work. Updates to the price guide now reflect the end of some of the temporary arrangements introduced in response to COVID-19.
You can find full details on the changes on the NDIA's website, but in the meantime, here’s a quick summary:
Improved location-based pricing
One of the biggest changes has been the consolidation of NDIS price guides into three categories – national, remote & very remote, taking into account the challenges faced by some carers, and the additional costs they may incur in delivering care. They’ll improve flexibility for providers, and make it easier to bill.
The Government is investing in improving access to care for remote communities, and has also launched a Disability in the Bush website and app to offer people living in these communities better access to support that could make a big difference to their lives.
Some important changes in definitions
- Shifts, time and day of care delivery
Many price limits are determined by the time of day, or night, the care is given. Now, the emphasis is on the specific time of day the care was provided, instead of the shift times of the works under the Industry Award or Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA). Workers nominate the day support was given, followed by the time.
Precise definitions for Night-time Sleepover support have been set too. This is classed as support that starts before midnight, lasts 8 hours or more, and requires the worker to stay awake. Likewise, Public Holiday Support is classed as care given at or after midnight the day before a public holiday. There are also detailed breakdowns of how to calculate Saturday, Sunday and Weekday support.
- Support intensity levels
The definition of what constitutes a high-intensity support level has been changed by the NDIA. The three levels now link price limits to the skills and experience of the support worker, as defined by the Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Industry Award 2010.
- Establishment fees
Along with the friendly introductions, building of trust and assessments, there’s a lot of paperwork to do when you start working with a new client. (Even though ShiftCare makes it as simple as possible to get up and running.) In recognition of the up-front time, most providers will now be eligible to charge a one-off establishment fee to help with the costs of setting up a new client.
- Group-based support
Also updated from July 1st 2021 will be the pricing arrangements for group based support. These remove the worker to participant ratio, meaning you’ll need to claim against the relevant 1:1 support line item and apportion time between group members. This won’t come into effect for a year, and you’ll have until the end of FY 2021 to implement the changes, but you can switch to this method now to help you get used to the transition.
Another change in this area is that providers will now also be able to claim a capital allowance for each participant in addition to the cost of the support worker.
- Further clarification
Other areas with a more detailed definition of pricing are some of those that support key Government initiatives. These include care offered by psychosocial recovery coaches, and support offered for living arrangements and employment, empowering those living with a disability to work towards their goals.
Travel costs get a look in too. Now, providers can claim non-labour transport costs incurred by their teams, in line with activity-based transport arrangements. Naturally, what constitutes a reasonable level is outlined in the guide, and while they aren’t price-controlled, any non-labour costs must be agreed with the participant.
So what do you need to do?
It’s important to remember that pricing plans will be updated from July 11th, but apply to care given from July 1st.
Providers will have until June 30th 2021 to transition to the new pricing arrangements for group-based supports, but of course, if you’re using ShiftCare, just update your app and it’s all done automatically for you. Here’s how to add NDIS 2020 Prices.
Like every year, there will be some changes that get a little getting used to, and others that will be welcomed. Whatever you make of them, overall, it’s great to see some of Australia’s most vulnerable communities being recognised, and pricing guides adjusted to better serve their needs.
If you don’t have access to an easy-to-use Care Management platform with integrated NDIS Price Guide, check out ShiftCare – an app and software solution designed especially for disability support providers.