NDIS price freeze triggers support coordinator exodus | Insurance Business Australia
Some National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants and their guardians are in limbo as support coordinators leave the market amid an ongoing price freeze.
Murwillumbah residents Kathy and Daniel Dwyer told ABC that their provider, Your Plan Manager in Tweed Heads, has cut its services in half and is considering closing the doors on its support coordination services. As a result, the Dwyers are struggling to access the critical services they need for their two daughters Jade and Brooke, who are both on the autism spectrum.
“Until we got a good support coordinator, we had so much trouble getting the support we needed,” Daniel said, as reported by ABC. “We were pulling our hair out, almost in tears trying to find help.”
The Dwyers explained that having no access to support coordinators who assist with participants' complex needs leads to “sleepless nights and constant worry.”
“When you get off a phone call with the NDIS, you're emotional, to say the least. It's almost like they're accusing you of being an inadequate parent,” Daniel said. “We're not educated in the NDIS system and how it works. Support coordinators get us the support we need.”
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Thousands of NDIS participants have been affected by the NDIS price freeze on support coordinators and plan management services for the third year in a row. If included in an NDIS plan, coordinators may help participants understand their plan, communicate with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and connect participants with appropriate services.
Your Plan Manager director Tanya Walford said the pricing freeze did not add up, given many other services in the disability sector had seen price increases, with the relevant award raised 4.6% this year.
“When we haven't had a funding increase in three years, we can't pay staff, and small, quality providers like us can't compete with the big end of town,” Walford said, as reported by ABC. “People need more support, but the agency didn't increase people's funding.”
In a statement, an NDIS quality and safeguards commission spokesperson said the agency “monitors the quality and safety of NDIS services by regulating all registered and unregistered NDIS providers and their workers” – with 320 new providers registered as support coordinators in the first half of 2022 (FY22).
The NDIA has been on the hot seat these past few months. Aside from support coordinators leaving the market, the budget cut has forced participants to fight for their homes or spend months longer than needed in hospitals.