On Monday, I attended a very interesting workshop that explored how the NDIS will fund Early childhood services. It was interesting to hear about the keyworker model and what is currently happening in the trial sites of Adelaide, Hunter Valley and Barwon. I find that one of the best things about workshops is getting to know the other participants in the room, in this case various early intervention providers and a couple of private practitioners. Yes, I was curious as to why there were only two of us from the private sector, and we certainly bought a different and dare I say fresh and business like spin to the day.
So there is going to be an NDIS application process. In my experience there is quite a bit to read and decide upon but the paperwork is no more complex than what is currently in place for Helping Children With Autism and Better Start Initiatives. However, there is a huge paradigm shift, with participant (parents and carers) having choice and control in the services they engage. Parents will be able to fully or partially manage their own funds; they may do this themselves or engage a funds manager. For private practitioners there is a degree of familiarity with this, as we are used to parents purchasing services from different providers. We are also very familiar with the challenges of fee for service, billable hours, seasonal fluctuation, cancellation policies and the like. For those services falling under the Charity, Not for Profit and state funded services this is demanding a huge pivot in their business and service delivery models.
Many feel that the NDIS will present many opportunities for mature and organised private providers. In my opinion it will be necessary to have great customer relationship and practice management software. Stake holder, client and referrer relationships will need additional investment and there may be some interesting ways of systematising this using technology. Efficient billing through the NDIS portal will be high on the list of skills for your admin team, at least we are familiar, and patient, with the DSS set up. It is currently possible to bill for travel through the NDIS – will families prefer services closer to home to reduce the travel fees in the future? How is your private practice positioned to potentially manage more admin and lower consulting fees?
Ultimately, more children will receive more funding packages and more services. With participants and parents holding the power to purchase services there will be an ongoing need to communicate with potentially far flung team members. Perhaps one-stop-shop providers will be the provider of choice? In addition, older children will now be receiving funding packages. Schools have already noted the increasing visits of therapists and are concerned about the sustainability of hosting allied health professionals and the demands on teaching staff. Regardless, from my perspective, the magic of intervention happens when there is a goal focused, family centered and coordinated approach. This is a common theme of my writing, read more about family service coaching here.
In order to unpack all this good NDIS information and opportunity further, I have invited Roland Naufal, NDIS Consultant and Director of Disability Service Consulting, to speak at our inaugural Paediatric Private Providers Forum Saturday 25th July here in Melbourne. Roland has a wealth of knowledge and phenomenal experience in the paediatric disability sector. Other speakers at the forum include experts on social media, human resources and business development. Tickets are limited, click through here to read and register or download the flyer.
Occupational Therapist, Disability Service Consultant, Coach, Facilitator.
M: 0488 316 319