25 Jun 2019

Increase to NDIS price limits good news for rural providers

25/06/2019 2:08:54 PM

The Federal Government has announced a spending boost to the scheme, with particular benefits for service providers in rural and remote areas.

Stuart Robert
New Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Stuart Robert. (Image: Dean Lewins)

New Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Stuart Robert has made his first major announcement in the role, outlining an increase in price limits for NDIS providers, particularly those delivering services in remote and very remote areas.
‘From 1 July 2019, providers will see increases to remote and very remote plan funding and price limit loadings; changes to billing for travel, cancellations and non-face-to-face services; and a temporary loading for attendant care and community participation supports – including group-based supports – to assist organisations transitioning to the NDIS,’ Minister Robert said.
These changes come in addition to the $850 million boost in NDIS provider price limits announced in March this year, also due to take effect on 1 July.
It has been a year of controversy over the funding of the NDIS, with earlier reports of a $1.6 billion underspend raising concerns about political interference. This led to a focus on NDIS funding during the Federal Election, with Labor promising a ‘locked box’ future fund to ensure money budgeted for the scheme would not be diverted to other programs.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison vowed to make the NDIS a priority after the Coalition’s election win.
The latest changes reflect the recommendations of the independent pricing review commissioned by the Board of the National Disability Insurance Agency, which included feedback from providers on matters such as the inadequacy of NDIS travel allowances, particularly in regional and isolated communities, and a lack of transparency in the price setting process.
‘The independent price review’s … 25 recommendations [have] been progressively implemented since July 2018 with the aim of transitioning the NDIS market to cope with significant demand growth, improving efficiency and quality of care and reaching the longer-term goal of price deregulation,’ Minister Robert said.
NDIS price limit increases and changes to take effect from 1 July include:    

  • a remote loading of 40% (increased from 20%) and a very remote loading of 50% (increased from 25%) on price limits
  • provider travel claiming increase from 20 minutes to 30 minutes within city areas, and from 45 minutes to 60 minutes in regional areas
  • a temporary transformation payment of 7.5% in the first year for attendant care and community participation supports for providers who comply with certain conditions 
  • two levels for therapy assistant supports
  • an hourly rate for non–face-to-face care activities conducted on behalf of the participant.  
Associate Professor Robert Davis, Chair of the RACGP Specific Interests Disability network, told newsGP he is pleased to see the price increases, although he remains uncertain of their adequacy to meet the needs of NDIS clients in rural and remote areas.
‘I think the increase in funding for remote services is justified, as is the reimbursement for travel for providers, although this still seems a bit low for regional areas,’ he said.

disability National Disability Insurance Scheme NDIS

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James Dean   26/06/2019 8:33:36 AM

Just a question, when is the RACGP going to start advocating for the Medicare rebates to at least match what a Physio, OT, etc is permitted to claim from NDIS? Currently this is around $180/hr compared to $160 (or less) for a GP.