Should you provide your NDIS plan to Service Providers?
To provide or not to provide?
This issue seems to be polarised for many, from “No way, they will rob me of all my funding!” to “Absolutely, what does it matter?” The fact is that you do not have to provide your NDIS support plan to any service provider. In the true spirit of the NDIS – you have the choice and control! However, there are some pieces of information you do need to provide, especially if you are NDIA Managed (which means that NDIA pay your service provider directly for your supports). So let’s discuss the pros and cons.
If you are NDIA Managed you will need to give your service provider your NDIS number and the start and finish date of your plan. Without this information they cannot create the all-important service booking, which means they can’t claim for the service they provide to you. This information is usually on the front page of your plan or in the letter you receive attached to the plan.
This is where your choices kick in. Service providers should be ensuring that the support they provide to each participant is in line with their NDIS plan’s short term goals. Now admittedly these goals for many participants are so vague that providing them to service providers is not much help. “John will continue to maintain his current supports” is hardly a forward moving, inspiring goal. A need, or right perhaps, but not a goal. Nonetheless there are occasions where not providing these goals to service providers can mean they are not complying with their requirements as a Registered Provider and it makes their end of plan report look weak. Your option if you do not wish to provide these goals or this page is to identify similar, maybe even more specific, measurable goals to the service provider that will fulfill their requirement to be accountable for the services they provide.
The Funding categories
Service providers need to ensure that you have funding in the areas which they are able to claim from. Developing a detailed service agreement for speech therapy and psychological therapy and booking in for every fortnight at 4pm, only to find out after the first session that you don’t actually have Improved Daily Living funding, is not helpful for you or the service provider. Admittedly service providers should be asking this question even before you give them your plan anyway. So really I do think the responsibility is on them to ask this question – your plan is complex and jargonistic, so let them identify what section you should be looking at when discussing their services.
The narrative under the funding Category
Often the blurb under you funding category is just a cut and paste piece that gives a broad outline of what you can use the funds for. However, in some cases there can be “Stated Supports” this means that the service provider must make the service booking, and of course the funds can only be used for specific supports. Without knowing this the Service Provider can spend forever trying to service book with any number of errors of arising. Usually resulting in the need to call the NDIA 1800 number.. and there goes the rest of the your day!!
The Funding Amount
Now this is really the big one that many participants object to providing. As a Service Provider, I can understand this. Maybe some service providers will take a look at the amount, and, decide you need services that exactly meet this amount. That would be unethical, but yes maybe they do this.
if you choose to not share your funding with Service Providers be prepared for quotes to come back higher than your funding level, and then an ongoing and frustrating back and forth of paperwork between you both until you can finally get to a figure that matches your funding. I think asking for a quote based on the participant’s needs and goals is great. You need to think about what you want to do if that qoute does not meet your funding. Maybe at this stage you need to consider giving a budget – they have already recommended more than your funding allows. When you get a quote from a plumber and it’s too high for your budget what do you? You usually ask him “what can you do for $X”, because you at least want to get some of the work done. You shop around (plumbers don’t have capped fees though set by the registering body), or you go off and save or review your budget. The choices are similar here.
If you choose to shop around – the differences are less likely to be in the price they charge – NDIS have capped fees. Yes services can charge less, but these fees have been set by Government as reasonable – do you really think NDIA have capped their fees high so that service providers can make heaps of profit. No they haven’t. In fact in many categories service providers are struggling to breakeven. You should be looking at what you get for your funding. Different services will offer different programs, experiences etc. Check what is included – for example in therapy do they charge you extra for case note, phone calls and preparation? Therapists can spend up to 2 hours preparing for one session. You don’t want to be billed for this. In other words check the fine print.
So what should I do?
So there you have it. Should you provide your NDIS plan to service providers? You don’t have to but in many circumstances it makes all our jobs easier so we get through the piles of administration and get to what most of us working in the sector prefer to do – help people achieve their goals!!
Watch our video on how to Access our Services at Real Therapy Solutions using your NDIS funding HERE