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New NDIS therapy pricing limits outcomes

Published 16th April, 2018

Therapy Focus has condemned a recommendation made for the pricing of therapy services in an Independent Pricing Review Report endorsed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), saying it will lead to poorer outcomes for people living with disability.

The NDIA has given in principle support for the Report, which recommends a tiered pricing structure for therapy services based on the functional needs of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

Therapy Focus CEO Matt Burrows said that adequate input was not sought from qualified therapists in compiling the pricing recommendations for therapy supports, and that this would negatively impact on the quality of services delivered.

“The Review has been conducted and recommendations made and adopted with limited opportunity for therapists to input, especially in relation to therapy pricing, and especially in Western Australia.” 

“The rationale for the pricing recommendations is able to be challenged on many fronts and the NDIA’s adoption of the recommendations, without rigorous consideration, will inevitably lead to poorer quality outcomes for people with disability.”

The rationale for the pricing recommendations is able to be challenged on many fronts and the NDIA’s adoption of the recommendations, without rigorous consideration, will inevitably lead to poorer quality outcomes for people with disability.

Therapy Focus CEO, Matt Burrows

The new pricing structure will take effect from 1 July 2018 with the full roll-out of the NDIS to be completed by 2020.  Mr Burrows said that this could lead to short term market failure and challenge the viability of providers.

“The sudden adoption of a pricing structure that is so much lower than the current pricing structure will lead to short term market failure with some providers being forced to cease services.  The impact of therapists leaving the workforce will see longer term challenges faced by those who decide to remain in operation.”

“The adoption of the proposed pricing structure by the NDIA is disappointing as it really sends a message that the NDIS is only a bare bones safety net for people with disability and nothing more. Such a declaration is hardly reasonable and necessary given the expectations we all have for this reform.”

Therapy Focus Board Chair Fiona Payne agreed with Mr Burrows saying that the changes would also impact access to vital early intervention services for children with disability.

“The drastic reduction in pricing for therapy significantly limits the development of a fit for purpose workforce. I am frustrated that children will be denied the opportunity to benefit from the early intervention and evidence based clinical practice that research shows changes their lives forever.”

The drastic reduction in pricing for therapy significantly limits the development of a fit for purpose workforce. I am frustrated that children will be denied the opportunity to benefit from the early intervention and evidence based clinical practice that research shows changes their lives forever.

Therapy Focus Board Chair, Fiona Payne

For more information, read Therapy Focus’ position statement regarding the independent review of the NDIS pricing strategy.

Visit the NDIA website to learn more about the independent pricing review.

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