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New data projects “unconscionable” closure of disability services

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A mass exodus of disability providers is on the horizon, as rising costs make it virtually impossible for many to continue their services, according to new data from peak body National Disability Services (NDS).   

With recent changes to the NDIS pricing model, coupled with rising insurance costs, the financial viability of providers around the country is dwindling. 

“As a not-for-profit working exclusively with children we feel we are one of the organisations most hit by a lack of price increase,” said Biala CEO David Greenwood. 

The survey data, commissioned by NDS shows:  

  • 83 per cent of providers say they have concerns regarding their ability to deliver disability services using the new price limits in this financial year  
  • 32 per cent of providers had trouble accessing insurance required to run their disability services in the last 12 months  
  • The NDIA’s new payment system PACE is expected to be rolled out later this year. 59 per cent of providers expressed concern that their organisation will have the capacity to adapt to this new system.  

Greenwood highlighted that working with children in their natural setting is becoming unviable under the NDIS. 

“We are now at the stage where we will see providers exit the market and our concern is for the children and families we support. The result of the pricing strategy (for organisations such as ours) will see children exiting services and joining ever-increasing wait lists, which is unconscionable,” he added.  

QLD-based provider, Home Care Nurses Australia CEO Busi Faulkner said she is currently owed over half a million dollars from the NDIS. 

“I understand that there are some providers out there acting in a fraudulent way and they should be held accountable, but for someone like me, I am just trying to provide enough care that keeps not only my clients with high-risk needs safe, but also my staff,” she said. 

“The NDIS should be paying for this but instead, out of my duty of care, I am having to pick up the slack and no funding is there to support me and others trying to do the right thing.” 

According to NDS CEO Laurie Leigh, the federal government is on notice: the current pricing arrangements are not sustainable. Without pricing adequate to cover costs a majority of disability service providers are now concerned that they will be simply unable to continue to provide the essential supports that people with disability rely on. 

“The government talks a lot about cracking down on NDIS fraud, as they should, but what are they doing to support the vast majority of providers who are doing the right thing and struggling to cover the costs of compliance, training and insurance?” 

“We are calling on the Minister to urgently address the concerns of the sector outside of the NDIS Review and Annual Pricing Review and consider an out-of-cycle pricing update to prevent this impending walk-out,” added Leigh. 

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Menchie Khairuddin is a writer Deputy Content Manager at Akolade and content producer for Third Sector News. She is passionate about social affairs specifically in mixed, multicultural heritage and not-for-profit organisations.

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