In July of this year, the NDIA introduced the Temporary Transformation Payment (TTP), a 7.5% loading that applies to personal care and community access supports. The payment is designed to support providers to meet the costs associated with the NDIS transition. Providers are eligible to claim this loading if they meet the following conditions:
publish their service prices;
list their business contact details in the Provider Finder and ensure those details are kept up-to-date
participate annually in an Agency-approved market benchmarking survey.
You don’t need an MBA to be able to calculate that it will be worth nearly every registered provider’s time to meet these conditions to attract a 7.5% increase in their revenue. Along with a number of other smaller price increases, this change was announced by former social services Minister Paul Fletcher and Assistant Minister for Disability Services Sarah Henderson in the media as a “15.4% increase in NDIS prices”.
All prior price increases have been accompanied by a proportionate increase in Participant Plan values (in theory). This makes sense – if the NDIA raises prices, they need to increase individuals’ budgets to ensure they can still purchase the same amount of support.
While it was initially unclear if TTP loading would be included in Plans, the NDIA finally conceded in early July that they would index existing Plans to allow Participants to pay TTP prices.
However, what we know now is that new Plans created since 1 July have not been calculated on the basis of TTP included prices.
For those of you playing along at home - yes, this means that the NDIA have tried to announce an enormous NDIS price increase without actually increasing any funding.
This decision puts providers and Participants in a terrible position, having to negotiate between themselves whether Participants go without reasonable and necessary supports or providers go without the funding they should be eligible to claim.
We welcome price competition in the market but this is a dishonest and inequitable way to try to introduce it. Moreover, many Participants live in areas or experience circumstances that limit their choice in providers. Meaning the opportunity to negotiate or select providers who offer a better price deal is simply not there. Some Participants will, therefore, effectively have their funding for personal care and community access cut by 7.5%.
The NDIA is trying to have its cake and eat it too. They want the benefits of a TTP without having to fork out any of the cash. But as we all know, that just ain’t how cake works. There will be no winners if the current state of affairs is allowed to continue, but just another bungled opportunity to add to the books.