The announcement earlier in the year that occupational therapists working with NDIS clients will receive an increase in the hourly fee they are paid, is a gratifying outcome for all who lobbied hard to achieve it.
An increase in the hourly rate paid by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), from $179 to $190 per hour, to take effect from 1 July, is great news for those OTs who have experienced so much frustration during the early years of the NDIS. There will also be a higher price limit for therapy assistants, although at this stage we are not aware of what this will be.
And things could have been so much worse.
Just 12 months ago, the Independent Pricing Review commissioned by the NDIA recommended significant cuts in the fees paid for most NDIS services. A tiered pricing structure, based around the highly problematic concept of the client’s “complexity”, would have seen some services attract payments of as little as $110 per hour.
Occupational Therapy Australia played a leading role in vocal and protracted efforts to overturn a proposal which threatened providers and was potentially disastrous for their clients. We warned the NDIA and the federal government that hundreds, and possibly thousands, of OTs would have been forced to walk away from NDIS work because their businesses would have been rendered unviable by the lower rates of pay.
As a result of these efforts, the NDIA and the federal government have seen sense, and a mass exodus of allied health professionals has been averted.
OTA will continue to monitor the pricing situation closely, ensuring that the interests of those of our members doing NDIS work are brought to the attention of decision makers in a clear, consistent and forceful fashion.
To find out more about the announcement, read the Minister’s media release here.
For further information view the NDIA announcement here.