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How to make NDIS funding go further

Maximise your or your pariticipant’s NDIS funding for allied healthcare with these insider tips and tricks

  1. Start your Plan ASAP

Your plan’s life cycle commences the moment your plan is approved, so it’s advisable to research providers, services and products discussed when setting your goals before your plan is approved so you can ‘activate’ these supports immediately. This guards against wasting a month or more of supports while you conduct research and make enquiries. This is especially important if your plan includes allied healthcare services such as occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy, dietetics and psychology, which are often funded under the NDIS Improved Daily Living category. These are often addressed after core supports such as personal care, which means that they may not commence when the plan does. Moreover, increased demand for NDIS allied healthcare services means that many providers have waiting lists, which can further delay treatment commencement. When researching providers for yourself or your participant if you’re a support coordinator or other NDIS professional, especially when seeking allied healthcare providers, make a point of asking about their waiting lists for relevant therapies and shortlist those who can provide treatment in a timely manner and on a consistent basis, if you require it. For instance, we have introduced priority ‘no wait’ NDIS appointments across occupational therapy, speech pathology, physiotherapy/hydrotherapy, dietetics and psychology at our Templestowe Lower clinic (see below for our simple online referrals process). 

2. Schedule appointments and bookings

Whether your Plan lasts for 12 or 36 months, it’s important to plan your year, as much as you can, to optimise entitlements across support categories. For instance, if you have weekly appointments with an allied healthcare provider, try to schedule multiple appointments in advance to ensure continuity and regularity (scheduling appointments by the week may mean there are weeks when you’re unable to secure a timely appointment). This is important both to optimise therapeutic benefits of your treatment plan and to prevent ‘wasting’ treatment funding due to missing sessions that can’t be made up. While there are many anecdotes of participants ‘cramming’ to use up funding before their plan review, this is less practicable when it comes to allied health treatments that rely on optimal intervals between sessions. At the end of your plan, any unspent funds are surrendered back to the NDIA and unused parts of your support budget may be deemed unnecessary for subsequent plans. 

3. Look for all-in-one

While it’s perfectly acceptable to use one NDIS-registered allied healthcare provider for one therapy type (e.g. physiotherapy) and another for another (e.g. occupational therapy), your treatment funding can be more efficient and effective when you use a single, multidisciplinary provider. Not only can they streamline your admin and relieve you of the stress of juggling multiple sets of paperwork, they will be accustomed to scheduling appointments in complementary disciplines to ensure consistent treatment at optimal intervals. Their practitioners will also be accustomed to working collaboratively to review your treatment plan and progress for optimal results in line with goals identified for the therapy in your NDIS plan.

4. Ask about the fine print

It can often seem as though NDIS funding is more abstract than, say, ‘money’. As such, many people are less attentive to exactly where each dollar is going. Yet it’s important to remember that your budget is ‘spent’ in exactly the same way as a savings account and to be wise about its usage. One way in which participants inadvertently ‘waste’ funding is by being unaware of hidden costs such as practitioner travel fees for at-home and community-based consultations. These can differ between providers and a more expensive travel fee, if added to regular consultations, can add up and reduce the number of sessions your funding affords. Our unique travel policy, with travel fees significantly less than those set out in NDIS guidelines, includes a number of ‘funding-saving’ measures such as a fixed practitioner travel fee, meaning participants’ funding for therapeutic services goes further. Click here to watch an animated video explaining how our travel policy can maximise your NDIS funding.

TAKEAWAY TIPS

  • Consider allied health needs at the start of a plan as these specialists are often booked out with long wait periods. Ideally, research NDIS-registered providers before the plan is approved as the plan’s lifespan starts immediately upon approval.
  • Look for allied healthcare providers with short or no wait times for required services and the ability to schedule consistent treatment services, across disciplines, if required.
  • Look for multidisciplinary allied healthcare providers who are accustomed to scheduling complementary therapeutic appointments (e.g. physiotherapy and occupational therapy) and whose practitioners are accustomed to reviewing progress and adjusting treatment plans to optimise results.
  • Maximise any allied healthcare services funded by scrutinising details such as fees (e.g. practitioner travel fees). Some providers may have extra fees, more expensive products, etc. that add up and reduce the number of therapeutic sessions afforded under allocated funding.

No wait time NDIS allied health services

Don’t risk wasting the full benefits of NDIS funding due to waiting lists for allied health treatment services. Our new priority appointments stream for NDIS participants at our Templestowe Lower clinic means that you or your participant can commence treatment as soon as the same week we receive your referral. Our online referrals process is quick and simple. Click here to make a referral.

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