ATSA 2016 seminar roomProviders and OTs had plenty of questions for NDIS campaign manager, Katherine McLellan at the ATSA Expo.  The expo was a great opportunity to speak to NDIS participants, service and equipment providers and therapists, McLellan told F2L. “Many of the equipment providers had questions about how to register under the scheme particularly if they are a national supplier based in one region and wanting to get coverage nationally.” Therapists too asked about the best approach for assisting clients in putting their case forward to get the necessary support for increasing their independence and their quality of life. McLellan acknowledged the initial transition to the NDIS is going to be difficult because it is a new way of operating, a new way of getting services funded and how clients choose the support and services they want and need. It is also a different way for service providers to operate.

“Traditionally services operated from a government level or through non-government organisations and knew exactly when funding was coming. This has changed because they are not getting a regular amount of funding from government and being paid in arrears. They have to provide the service and invoice the government agency or the individual depending on how they are managing their money and then how they get paid for service. “I believe we are going to learn a lot in the next 12 months from people moving into the NDIS and hope some of the bumps along the road will be smoothed out.

Because the decision rests with the end user, there are some people who will be cautious about making decisions. “It is really important when we are doing the planning process that they bring who they want, for instance, informal support like a carer or family, or the more formal option from a service provider, therapist or someone they know and trust from the sector who is able to advocate on their behalf so they have a good idea of what is available and what can be purchased.   “This applies to those from a non-speaking background as well. A lot of people have not made choices before.” McLellan said the biggest challenge as she sees it is getting people to understand the process and where there is anxiety about missing out on support and services. “From the service provider perspective the concern lies with pricing, particularly when it comes to one-to-one support. “We are being told pricing is not adequate for them to run the business the way they want and this still needs to be worked out.”

As for the big rollout campaign for the NDIS that starts in July, McLellan is confident that if another 100,000 can be transitioned within the first 12 months, the scheme will reach its 460,000 target.