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Using technology to overcome NDIS delivery challenges

4 minute read – Business Growth Series – NDIS Delivery

Last year, 2020, was certainly a challenging year in disability and aged care.

With new processes and quality requirements to implement, the added pressure of Covid-19 and the investigations that followed, were enough to leave even the strongest of organisations holding their breath in wait for 2021.

The fact is, these industries were already stretched thin. They were implementing new models, preparing for significant growth in demand over coming years, and doing so with minimal access to the people they need, to deliver on all fronts.

Looking at the NDS State of the Industry Report in 2019, it was clear organisations were aiming to amplify activity, despite these obstacles. Many had plans for growth, new technology, and for new mergers, acquisitions and other opportunities.

And while, according to The Report in 2020, some organisations succeeded in growing their revenue, with more profitable outcomes than the year previous, the same ongoing challenges that have plagued these industries for decades, remain.

In 2020, one third of providers did not make a profit

In reading the research, it becomes clear that many organisations feel the NDIS pricing model is out of touch with the reality of delivering high-quality services.

Over recent years, more than half of the providers that participated in NDS State of the Industry reports, acknowledged concerns about being able to NDIS delivery of services within the set pricing, and some noted the quality of the services would need to be decreased in order for the organisation to survive.

To add to the pain, the administrative burden of facilitating the NDIS and supporting families and participants as they entered the scheme, was largely unaccounted for in Government pricing models, meaning organisations needed to foot the bill for this themselves.

As a result of these challenges, a significant portion of the NDS survey respondents were operating at a loss, either at an organisational level or on the delivery of specific services.

Though adjustments have been and continue to be made to refine the Scheme, for many providers, the challenges of pricing and administration go on.

Sixty-nine percent of providers turned away new service requests

Aligning with ongoing pricing model challenges, 2020 saw 69% of providers turn away participants who were requesting new services.

With budgets already stretched, fees failed to cover the quality of historic service, as well as the associated administrative and support costs. Many organisations opted not to expand their service offering, and could not commit to as many participants as had been planned.

Further, attraction and recruitment of new, quality frontline and allied health workers continued to be a challenge, with almost half of organisations finding it difficult to onboard enough of the right people to fulfil service requirements.

The competition for high quality employees was intense

In both 2019 and 2020, there were widespread reports of employee poaching – one organisation tempting a quality care giver away from another organisation, with better conditions, salary or greater security.

The reason for the poaching was simple – as noted above, the volume of qualified people coming into the industry, who were passionate about care and invested in their carer, seemed to be on the decline… right as demand was on the increase.

We spoke to Madeline Hill and Matt Hodges, NDIS recruitment specialists from global firm, Randstad, and they reinforced the enormity of this issue.

Both Matt and Madeline pointed to the appeal of relatively simple, easy-access care qualifications for visa applicants. They noted the potential for this to result in a seemingly plentiful market of qualified applicants – with few who actually want to work in care.

Attracting and retaining quality candidates was difficult, due to a lack of suitable applicants, job insecurity, shift instability, poor remuneration and little organisational focus on career progression.

Business continuity became a new Covid challenge

As noted, 2020 saw a completely new challenge for providers, on top of the still-evolving NDIS, with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a matter of weeks, providers were expected to have their carers adapt to physical distancing and other spread-prevention techniques and implement complex new processes.

With stringent new hygiene requirements in place, organisations also found a vastly increased need for personal protective equipment, right as the general public in Australia started to buy up masks in bulk, and countries throughout the world struggled with dwindling stocks.

During this period, according to the NDS report, some organisations simply evacuated entire regions, unable to continue NDIS delivery, leaving local employees to navigate their way through the virus without the employment they had relied on.

How can VisiCase help?

At VisiCase, we’re pretty honest – we are not a superhuman, super hero organisation that can immediately solve all the challenges associated with NDIS delivery.

But we can lessen the burden in quite a few ways:

  1. We give your staff access, everywhere: this helps support continuity of service delivery, even under uncertain conditions, because every employee has access to key systems required to do their job, their reporting and manage participants. They can access it from an office, a home or even the local park!
  2. We can help with admin: while we can’t eradicate admin, we can help reduce it in two ways!
    Firstly, our automated workflows cut out manual processes associated with finance, billing, tracking and reporting.
    Secondly, our system decreases the administration burden associated with claiming through the NDIA portal, freeing up time for other tasks.
  3. We help you plan for the future, tomorrow and beyond: our Decision Support System offers a trend analysis tool that enables management to make early, astute HR and Program decisions, with the highest degree of confidence.

With products available for both large and small organisations, VisiCase focuses on delivering more streamlined workflows and a better experience for your participants and your people.

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VisiCase provides an NDIS-ready business automation platform, built on powerful workflows. It helps you manage, streamline and optimise every component of your business, and its modules empower a positive employee and client experience.

Image by George Arthur Pflueger

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