NDIS: How do I Choose a Provider?
Once an NDIS ‘participant’ has an approved plan, it is up to them to choose what supports and services they feel they need to achieve their goals, who provides them and when and where they are delivered. They also have the opportunity to change providers at any time.
Participants need to understand the different budgets, who can help them use the plan and how the plan is managed. Where necessary, however, the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) or others will manage the funding for supports where there is an unreasonable risk to a participant.
Support co-ordination may be included in a participant’s plan if it is reasonable and necessary for the individual, but it is not generally funded in the participant’s plan except where exploring housing options.
Support coordinators help participants to implement supports in their plan, including informal, government services, community activities and funded supports. They will work with a participant to:
- assess and choose preferred providers.
- negotiate services to be provided and their prices, develop service agreements and create service bookings with the participant’s preferred providers, and
- liaise with any plan manager provider to establish the appropriate claim categories and attribute the correct amount of funds.
Once the types of services required have been established, the participant might want to research providers on the internet, check reviews, get advice from friends or family and speak with different providers either face-to-face or over the phone before agreeing to work with them.
Appointed co-ordinators or support co-ordinators can also help source NDIS-registered providers or one can search the Provider Finder on the myplace portal.
What is an NDIS Provider?
NDIS providers are individuals or organisations that deliver a support service or product to participants, and are deemed critical to the success of the NDIS. They are often matched or referred to participants by intermediaries and partners within the community.
The NDIS recognises that its partners in the community and intermediaries have a wealth of experience and knowledge within local communities.
Irrespective of whether they are individuals or organisations, NDIS providers can be listed as either registered or unregistered providers. Registered providers are obviously able to connect to a much wider range of participants as they will have met specific quality, skill and safeguard requirements.
How to Choose the Right Provider?
Participants may have previous or existing contact with service providers before they join the NDIS and may choose to work with them again. When considering a new service provider however, participants are encouraged to talk to them about their plan and to discuss how they may be able to help them achieve their goals.
As the NDIS is relatively new, it may take time for new service providers to be available, particularly in rural or remote towns. Where there are not many service providers available, participants may consider other people or businesses in their area that might be able to support them.
The NDIA values the role of providers and sees them as a critical part of the NDIS. Ultimately, they would like to see a market with a diverse range of providers giving participants more choice and control and enabling strong links with mainstream services as well as family and community support.
After full roll-out, it is estimated that the NDIS market will be worth $22 billion a year and create thousands of new jobs across the country. Together, this helps achieve the overall aim of the NDIS, increased social and economic participation for people with disability.
There is no denying that far-reaching transformation within this sector was long overdue and that a well-functioning NDIS will facilitate some of the change necessary to achieve true social inclusion for people with a disability.
For further information: Telephone 1800 800 110, www.ndis.gov.au