On 1 October the NDIA released an updated Price Guide that included an increase in the prices for Short Term Accommodation (STA), a.k.a respite. Anyone who previously relied on respite as part of their support model will know that the STA part of the NDIS rollout has been like a dark storm cloud looming over their head.
Thankfully, in advance of the full findings of the Independent Pricing Review, the NDIA have increased the prices for STA and made them more reflective of the costs required to deliver the support.
Where previously STA was a single line item of $501 / 24 hours regardless of the day of the week or staffing ratios, there are now 12 different rates considering these cost drivers:
Standard Ratio (1 staff: 4 participants)
Weekday: $503 / 24 hours
Saturday: $593 / 24 hours
Sunday: $703 / 24 hours
Public Holiday: $812 / 24 hours
High Intensity Ratio (1 staff: 2 participants)
Weekday: $807 / 24 hours
Saturday: $986 / 24 hours
Sunday: $1,205 / 24 hours
Public Holiday: $1,425 / 24 hours
1 staff: 1 participant
Weekday: $1,413 / 24 hours
Saturday: $1,772 / 24 hours
Sunday: $2,211 / 24 hours
Public Holiday: $2,650 / 24 hours
DSC recently completed a high level analysis of the feasibility of the new prices and the results were surprising. We assumed the following:
Staffing: highly experienced support workers (Grade 3, paypoint 4 with respect to the SCHAADS award categories)
Participants: 4 attendees at a respite or Short Term Accommodation service operating from 4pm Friday to 8am Monday
Property: varied from a rented property (ie rent payments) through to purpose built facility (ie mortgage repayments)
Ratios: varied from 1:4 through to 1:1 with some variance around ratios during the day and during the night / sleep-over shifts.
Without delving deeply into the results, in most cases the result demonstrated that 1:4 and 1:1 ratios were sustainable where-as the 1:2 ratio struggled to break even.
Obviously the model assumptions influence the outcomes but it is surprising that the viability of Short Term Accommodation may not be the same across all ratios. This is a finding that providers need to be aware of when considering providing such a service.
DSC wholeheartedly welcomes the increase in STA pricing and the restructuring of prices to more accurately reflect support costs. We hope this is a positive sign of things to come and are eagerly anticipating the publication and implementation of the rest of the Independent Pricing Review's recommendations.