NDIS survey shows growing issues
A survey of NDIS providers shows many are struggling to keep up with growing demand and increased costs.
The National Disability Services 2017 state of the sector report says policy uncertainty and inadequate price-setting by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is damaging business confidence and financial stability among disability service providers.
The survey of 516 service providers found just 47 per cent could keep pace with demand, while 73 per cent reported an increase in demand for their services in the past 12 months.
Only 56 per cent said they were able to increase the scale or range of services they offered in response to the demand.
Sixty per cent of organisations reported being worried about their ability to adjust to NDIS changes, while only 57 per cent said they had sufficient resources.
The number of participants in the NDIS has more than tripled since July 2016, but that increase has come with a near sevenfold increase in complaints about the scheme to the commonwealth ombudsman.
The NDIA has the ambitious goal of getting 475,000 participants on the NDIS by 2019-20, but many have warned that the sector is not growing fast enough to allow that.
The major concern to emerge from the state of the sector survey is that service prices set by the NDIS are too low.
Fifty per cent of providers said they would have to reduce the quality of services to fit within NDIS cost parameters.
Sixty per cent of organisations said prices should be aligned with the cost of supply.
An independent review of NDIS pricing, commissioned by the NDIA, is due to report back this month.
Meanwhile, the number of organisations that say the government has neither anticipated nor responded to the needs of disability service providers has risen from 62 per cent in 2016 to 74 per cent in 2017.
“The NDIA cut corners to meet ambitious targets to get people with disability into the scheme,” the National Disability Services CEO, Ken Baker, said.
“I think it recognises now that it needs to focus much more on improving the quality of the NDIS experience for providers and participants.
“We are determined to see the NDIS succeed… too much is at stake to let it fail.”