If you’re trying to figure out how your business fits into the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme), you’re not alone! It’s a new concept for many of us so here are the essentials of what you need to know to get you up to date.
Let’s start with some facts first
- NDIS is a landmark social and economic reform which started July 2016
- Expected to increase to 460,000 participants by 2019
- Provides a comprehensive support system to those people with a significant long-term physical or psycho-social disability
- Connects participants with service providers in their local community
- Encourages participant directed funding and a market-style system
- NDIS is expected to work alongside mainstream services such as Medicare
NDIS registration isn’t mandatory for all health professionals, but it will be a prerequisite if you want to provide support to NDIS managed participants or provide Plan Management services. You can register as a provider on the NDIS website, which allows you access to the provider portal.
HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WILL BE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE THE FOLLOWING DETAILS:
- Register for a PRODA (Provider Digital Account) through the NDIS website. Create a MyPlace account and complete an intent to register with NDIS
- Include details on the range of services offered by your practice and where you intend to offer the services (each state is treated differently)
- Confirmation of professional registration and resume
- Confirmation of your Public Liability insurance and your ABN
- Bank Details for receiving payments.
- Proof of Identity
PATIENTS CAN MANAGE THEIR OWN FUNDS
NDIS offers a new market-style system where the government funding will go directly to the participant, under the Individual Funding Packages initiative. They will have an active part in determining their own goals of what they want to achieve, and how they wish their support services to be organised and delivered. Participants will also have greater choice and control over which service providers they will use.
Individual Funding Packages have several options which can include a combination of the following:
- Participants manage all of the funding in the package themselves,
- Funding is managed by a nominated person.
- Funding is managed by an agency provider which has been authorised by NDIS
- Funding is managed by the NDIS
While there are many challenges faced when adopting the NDIS framework, as Private Practice owners you will most probably have some awareness with many of the obstacles including fees, billable hours, and adapting to seasonal functions and cancellations.
Pricing and payments are the number one challenge for most practitioners. Understanding the limitations of the service categories chosen, the cost of your services and how to price current and future services are vital for any Private Practice owner. Additionally, factoring in how to adjust to the lower consulting fees and keep up with the additional administration required will be extremely important. Billing will be completed through the NDIS portal and needs to be a priority for your administration team.
NEED TO BUILD GREAT RELATIONSHIPS
The NDIS is all about networking and building relationships, not just with other practitioners but with your clients and the greater community. The more people in the industry and community that know about your services and the more participants you have access to, the more likely you will be chosen as their service provider of choice. Go out and contact your local disability service providers and community support services directly and introduce yourself. It’s important to let them understand your services and business philosophy and how you can support them. Likewise, participants will be aiming to maximise their funding, and their choice often based on finding a service that provides a valued experience with someone they feel they can trust.
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE
Developing a set of business procedures to manage the flow of information needs to be a priority for any Private Practice, and using a practice management software will help you do this efficiently. You will be able to keep track of some of the financial data via the NDIS portal; however, a more comprehensive system will be needed to maintain essential financial records and provide complete reports of your services.
Choosing the right system can be overwhelming with so many choices, so it may be helpful to take some time and write down what your needs are as a business and your budget and then research which options are most suitable. Depending on your Private Practice needs, there are several software options available from basic accounting and software file management systems to more complex practice management software which records patient demographics and comprehensive patient management, manage charge captures, perform billing procedures, generates reports, schedule appointments and reminders, all of which aim to improve overall workflow efficiency.
HOW ARE YOU POSITIONED TO HANDLE MORE ADMIN AND LOWER CONSULTING FEES?
So how can your Private Practice stay above water handling the increased administration costs and lower consultation fees of NDIS?
When transitioning to NDIS, it’s essential to keep ahead of the changes and developments of NDIS and implement policies and procedures to manage the workflow. We all know how important it is to grow and diversify as a business. The key is to look at your operations and services with some flexibility and evaluate your business model regularly. Understand how your practice will be affected by the changes moving to NDIS, including rates/pricing, service demand and additional operational costs. Through reviewing your options, it will allow you to make strategic decisions to ensure your business remains viable.