NDIS - Service Level Assessments
Assessment is the most important factor with any ISP funding, as this funding is effectively in the pocket of the consumer, rather than 'bulk' funding being in the pocket of the service provider
Assessments define service funding levels, not living or personal expenses. Living expenses are from the person's disability support pension, similar to a person on the agepension. Both pensions are around $700pf, or aprox $16,800pa.
Service funding prior to the ISP concept, was 'bulk', or 'direct' funding. This style of funding remains for most group home residents; with ISP funding becoming common for many other services as state governments become more confident in its provision and use.
The source of 'bulk' funding is government 'general revenue', paid directly to the service provider. The funding level is based on a vaguely standard figure of how much is required to run a service having a certain number of clients. This broad funding base, allows service providers some flexibility with service planning and service overheads.
Where the funding source for such a service is changed to ISP, the service provider has little or no flexibility, as the consumer and their family, naturally, expect to pay for each hour of service at a fee which does not include service planning and overheads.
As service providers move towards ISP clientele, they are likely to have less and less reserves to provide service planning and overheads. They must, therefore, set an hourly service rate to allow for these extras - the real cost.
At present, ISP assessment criteria often fails to consider the real cost, so consumers often get far less service than they expected from their ISP. Therefore, a knowledge of actual service rates and charges is vital when entering the 'assessment phase' of the ISP process.
Here is just one basic example of real-time service costs for a person with high support needs living in an active-night group home and attending a day centre five days per week. The total, overall, annual cost, living and support, is aprox, $160,500pa or $3,000pw.
This is made up of, $123,545pa group home service fee and, $24,964pa day service fee. Plus, day service administration and program fees, $2,200pa, and group home accommodation charges, $9.800pa (this includes, rent, food and personal expenditure - but not clothes and medication).
The living cost for the person is, $2,200 + $9,800 = $12,000 from their $16,800 pension. This leaves a balance of $4,800pa for clothing, medication, etc.
The person's service costs are, $123,545 + $24,964. This equals the person's need (assessment) for a $148,509 ISP.
Most of the present ISPs are going to those living at home with their family, but is moving to encompass all aspects of living.
The original intention of the NDIS was to, (a) reduce the waiting list and, (b) provide service entitlement for all, in contrast to the present charity hand-out philosophy driven by government general revenue.
The Productivity Commission decided the NDIS funding outcome should be in the form of ISPs, to give consumers the ability to drive market quality - ability to choose their service provider/s through money in their pockets.
The most difficult aspect of the ISP funding process is the assessment of entitlement. We consider this is going to be the most controversial aspect of the NDIS process, by a country mile.
Consumers should be astute when they are to be assessed for their ISP. Ensure you fully understand the assessment criteria. Ensure you are provided with a copy of this well prior to the assessment process. Ensure there are appeal avenues, and that you fully understand how to use these.