Melanie Robertson

COVID-19 vaccination: access to vaccines for disability workers

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On 12 July 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – disability provider alert.

This includes:

  • residential disability support workers are encouraged to have the COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible
  • all disability workers are strongly encouraged to get the COVID-19 vaccine and are eligible
  • options available to disability workers to be vaccinated
  • Disability Gateway
  • restrictive practices and COVID-19 vaccines
  • social media posts about the importance of receiving 2 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
  • resources to support people getting vaccinated.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Providers may receive this information from other government agencies, including the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: access to vaccines for disability workers
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NDIS National Workforce Plan: 2021–2025

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The Minister for the NDIS has released a national plan to grow, develop and retain the NDIS workforce.

Another 83,000 workers will be needed to support NDIS participants in the next 4 years, bringing the total workforce to 353,000.

The NDIS National Workforce Plan: 2021–2025 will support the sector to attract workers while improving existing workers’ access to training and development.

The plan identifies 16 actions across 3 priority areas:

  1. Improve community understanding of the benefits of working in the care and support sector and strengthen entry pathways for suitable workers to enter the sector.
  2. Train and support the NDIS workforce.
  3. Reduce red tape, facilitate new service models and innovation, and provide more market information about business opportunities in the care and support sector.

Providers and peak bodies play an important role in the success of this plan. The Department of Social Services (DSS) will host briefings with more detail on plan actions and timelines.

More information:

NDIS Workforce Plan

 

Improving the NDIS

We have recently updated the improving the NDIS pages on the NDIS website. This gives more information about how the proposed reforms work together and responds to some of the feedback received.

Consultation events
The Independent Advisory Council to the NDIS has convened consultation on independent assessments and other Scheme reforms. This includes engaging with state and territory disability advisory councils and disability representative organisations. More information.

Personalised budgets and participant journey maps
In early June, we released 3 information papers to explain the proposed personalised budget model in more detail including information in Easy Read.

We have also released new participant journey maps. These explain the proposed planning process for participants.

Consultation submissions available
We recently published the submissions received from 124 organisations as part of the recent consultations on proposed Scheme reforms:

We contacted organisations for their permission before publishing. Everyone who made a submission recently and would like us to publish it on our website can contact us by email stakeholder.engagement@ndis.gov.au

 

Improving the NDIS

 

New information on the early childhood approach

We have published a new guideline on the early childhood approach that explains how we support children younger than 7 and their families.

The guideline covers important information such as best practice in early childhood intervention and how families can get support.

Early childhood approach is the new name for the Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) approach, launched in 2016. The approach has not changed, just the name, and this is the first time we have had a guideline to explain our approach to supporting young children and their families.

We will update the guideline as we make improvements to the approach in response to feedback from our recent consultation.

Find out more about the new guideline on our website.

 

More information

 

Latest information in response to COVID-19

NDIS temporary support measures

COVID-19 vaccination

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

State and territory advice for the disability sector

 

NDIS website COVID-19 information

 

Provider addressing need for positive behaviour supports

Positive behaviour support (PBS) is a person-centred approach to understand and address someone’s behaviours of concern. This includes how others can best support a person with disability around that behaviour.

Supports may include behaviour assessments, behaviour support plans, training and plan implementation support for family and carers and monitoring and review activities.

Behaviour support practitioners must have relevant qualifications, training and / or experience as outlined in the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission PBS Capability Framework.

‘It’s a very rewarding field and not as scary as it first seems’, says Sylvia Tran, a registered PBS proficient practitioner with more than 5 years’ experience (pictured above). ‘PBS takes a holistic approach with participants and their care team and we’re seeing excellent outcomes including a reduction in the need for restrictive practices.’

Sylvia is a psychologist and director of Just a Thought Allied Health, a registered NDIS provider in Victoria. ‘Regional areas in particular have a need for specialist positive behaviour support services as they don’t necessarily have the qualified and experienced staff. As a proficient practitioner, I can supervise and sign off on core practitioner PBS plans. This is the main area of our business growth.

‘While I’m Melbourne-based, I support regional practitioners through a hub and spoke model, where regional practitioners provide sub-contract services under our registration. We have an office in Bendigo, and I also visit the Gippsland region every 6 weeks in addition to other training and coaching with a particular focus on the practicalities of PBS within NDIS.

‘As part of the hub and spoke model, we also provide administrative support needed like uploading plans with restrictive practice to the NDIS Commission portal. This provides participants with a greater level of protection. States have their own requirements and we work closely with implementing providers as well as the Victorian Senior Practitioner.’

NDIS data shows that participants in some areas are not utilising their behaviour support funding because there are not enough practitioners or providers of behaviour support to meet demand.

The NDIA is currently trialling a range of approaches to address different market gaps across Australia. This includes positive behaviour support in some regional areas of Victoria and in the ACT.

The market trials will be formally evaluated and results will help build an ongoing market intervention approach.

You must be registered to deliver behaviour support before performing functional behavioural assessments or writing behaviour support plans.

More information

Just a Thought Allied Health

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission

NDIS website

 

More information

 

News in brief

NAIDOC week 4–11 July

NAIDOC week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The NAIDOC 2021 theme – Heal Country! – calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

Visit the NDIS website for some stories from NDIS participants.

The NAIDOC website has an event calendar, event planning ideas and a poster to print and display. Share activities on social media using #NAIDOC2021 #NAIDOCWeek or #NAIDOC.

NDIS financial sustainability update

We recently released an interim update to the NDIS Annual Financial Sustainability Report summary.

This gives more insight into affordability challenges including projected Scheme costs.

The NDIA is committed to ensuring continued sustainable growth of the Scheme so that it is available for current and new participants for years to come. Read the update.

Reports on participant experience
Two detailed reports are now available on our website about the experiences of:

These reports may help providers understand how to work best with participants to use their NDIS plans.

We regularly release information about the Scheme on the NDIS Data and Insights website. This website allows you to explore and customise NDIS data.

Provider finder tool on NDIS website
We have recently added an interactive provider finder to the NDIS website to help participants connect with registered providers.

The provider finder will still be available through the myplace participant portal.

Make sure you have listed all your service area locations, known as ‘outlets’ in the NDIS Commission Portal.

You can add registration groups for all areas where you deliver supports, not just where your offices are located. This means participants searching for providers in their area are more likely to find you.

To add or manage service areas use this quick reference guide on the NDIS Commission website.

Do not post invoices to the NDIA
Please do not send us invoices to the GPO box as these will not be reviewed in a timely manner.

If necessary, providers can submit invoices as part of a payment enquiry in the myplace provider portal.

We will request invoices if they are needed to support any manual payments or for compliance.
 

Independent assessment pilot update
We have released the interim evaluation of the second independent assessment pilot.

This has feedback from NDIS participants who opted to take part in the second independent assessment pilot.

Although the pilot has now closed, we are continuing to offer NDIS participants the chance to complete a voluntary independent assessment.

Choosing to have a voluntary independent assessment will not change current or future plans. It will not be shared with anyone unless participants choose to share it.

For more information visit the NDIS website:

Early childhood assistive technology: request for information extended
We recently released a request for information (RFI) on assistive technology (AT) market solutions for young participants, including those with changing needs.

The deadline for responses has been extended to AEST 2 pm Tuesday 27 July 2021.

If you have knowledge, expertise or lived experience in providing AT supports for early childhood, we encourage you to respond to the RFI.

This will help shape our early childhood AT approach.

Find more information on the NDIS website.

Help shape our policies on home and living, and support for decision making
Read the consultation papers and have your say on our proposed policies for home and living, and support for decision making. Feedback is due Friday 27 August. More information.

Australian workplace laws
The Fair Work Ombudsman is monitoring the healthcare and social assistance sector – which includes NDIS service providers – to ensure they comply with workplace laws and award conditions including:

  • Fair Work Act 2009
  • Fair Work Regulations 2009
  • Social, Community, Home Care and Disability Services Award 2010
  • Supported Employment Services Award 2020.

To find more information about employee entitlements and resources to help you manage a wide range of workplace obligations, visit the Fair Work website.

Provider events online

Register to join online events for providers including:

  • Working as an NDIS provider – information session for new providers introducing the myplace provider portal, service bookings, payment requests, Price Guide and more – Tuesday 27 July.
Melanie RobertsonNDIS National Workforce Plan: 2021–2025
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2021–22 NDIS prices now live

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The following post is copied from an email received from NDIS

 

On 1 July 2021 we published the changes to pricing arrangements and price limits announced on 2 June 2021.

Please visit the Pricing arrangements page to download the 2021–22 versions of:

  • NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021–22 (previously the NDIS Price Guide)
  • NDIS Support Catalogue 2021–22
  • NDIS Pricing Arrangements for Specialist Disability Accommodation 2021–22 (previously the Price Guide for Specialist Disability Accommodation)
  • NDIS SDA Calculator
  • NDIS Disability Support Worker Cost Model 2021–22
  • NDIS Assistive Technology and Home Modifications Code Guide 2021–22.

The pricing changes are effective from 1 July 2021. These include:

  • The base price limits for supports delivered by disability support workers have increased by 2.95% to take account of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to increase minimum wages by 2.5% and the increase in the super guarantee percentage, from 9.5% to 10%.
  • The price limits for specialist disability accommodation have increased 1.1% based on the change in the consumer price index.
  • The temporary transformation payment (TTP) loading has reduced from 6% to 4.5%.
  • The extension of the transitional pricing arrangements for group-based supports for 12 months.

In the NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits 2021–22 (previously the NDIS Price Guide) we have clarified the following:

  • who sets prices for supports and services
  • claiming for more than one worker or therapist
  • provider prepayments
  • Australian Business Number (ABN) requirement for plan-managed payment requests
  • calculating claims for support items with a ‘notional’ price limit.

Pricing arrangements for specialist disability accommodation (SDA)
From 1 July 2021 the price limits for specialist disability accommodation (SDA) have been indexed for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) by 1.1%.

The refurbishment thresholds, which determine if an existing SDA dwelling can be treated as a new dwelling, have also increased 1.1%.

SDA support line items with claiming rules are now listed in the NDIS Pricing Arrangements for Specialist Disability Accommodation 2021–22 (previously the Price Guide for Specialist Disability Accommodation).

Pricing arrangements for supported independent living (SIL)
We have also released the Report of the Review of Pricing Arrangements for Supported Independent Living.

The review confirms that SIL price limits should continue to be aligned with Assistance with Daily Living price limits.

Adjusting plan funds
Funds in existing participant plans will not be adjusted on 1 July for the changes in price limits.

Our data shows most participants will be able to continue to purchase the supports they need from their existing plan funds and will not be impacted by changes to price limits.

We have a process in place to monitor plan utilisation and identify participants who are likely to utilise their entire funded supports before their plan end date. We will ensure participants continue to receive the reasonable and necessary supports they need without disruption.

If participants are concerned the pricing changes will impact their plans funds, they can contact us to request a plan review.

More information on the NDIS website

Learn more: pricing updates

Melanie Robertson2021–22 NDIS prices now live
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Free Business Education for ATSA Members

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Join us for a series of workshops designed to help you drive growth for your business by developing a practical digital strategy.

From Social, SEO and SEM to your website, ERP and CRM, these workshops will help you make better decisions and reduce your risk when it comes to the digital landscape. Run by Ben Barin, who has extensive experience with the full spectrum of digital - from strategy to delivery, his clients over the past 15 years have included Commonwealth Bank, Unilever, Hyundai, Cancer Council and P&O Cruises to name a few.

Ben’s primary focus is on ensuring your business objectives remain the focus of any project and the role of digital is to establish a system that solves basic business problems. Once established, a good system will evolve to enable you to find better solutions to problems, which ultimately drives growth.
If you are interested in learning more, please click here for a quick survey – or email melanie.robertson@atsa.org.au with your interest.

First session will be held via Zoom on 21 July from 4pm (NSW)

Melanie RobertsonFree Business Education for ATSA Members
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COVID-19 vaccination: information for disability support providers

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On 29 June 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – disability provider alert.

This includes:

  • a video and story from vaccine recipient
  • provider-led hubs update
  • new in-depth patient assessment
  • phase 1b general practice vaccine rollout
  • disability worker meeting update
  • resources to support people getting vaccinated.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: information for disability support providers
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COVID-19 vaccination: more information for providers and disability support workers

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On 18 June 2021, the Department of Health issued a new COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert.

This includes information on:

  • Updated advice on the AstraZeneca vaccine
  • State and territory information for participants, providers and support workers
  • Informed consent and receiving a COVID-19 vaccine
  • Recent disability worker meeting addressing questions about the COVID-19 vaccination program
  • Resources for NDIS providers.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: more information for providers and disability support workers
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Business Events Grants Program extension update

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The Business Events Grants program closed on 30 March 2021 and received 1729 eligible applications requesting over $56 million in funding. The program’s $50 million in funding has been fully exhausted with more than 1500 applicants awarded funding. All successful applicants have now been advised.

The Australian Government is currently considering options regarding the program including in relation to eligible applicants who did not receive funding due to the program allocation being exhausted as well as potential new applications under a program extension.

An update regarding the Government’s decisions will be made as soon as possible. Once a decision has been made will publish the information on the Austrade website

 

Melanie RobertsonBusiness Events Grants Program extension update
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Public consultation open: Potential refinements to the new regulatory framework for personalised medical devices

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The TGA is consulting on potential refinements to the new regulatory framework for personalised medical devices.

Regulatory changes introducing a new framework for the regulation of personalised medical devices commenced on 25 February 2021, including a transition period for eligible manufacturers and sponsors until 1 November 2024. Comprehensive information about the new framework is available via the personalised medical devices landing page on the TGA website.

During the implementation phase a number of sectors have raised concerns over the impact of the new framework including comments that:

  • the new regulatory requirements are a duplication of existing regulation already provided by professional accrediting bodies or other regulatory bodies;
  • the classification of certain requirements for some devices were excessive compared with the actual risk posed by the device; and/or
  • the regulatory burden associated with compliance is unreasonable.

The TGA are now seeking feedback through a public consultation process on potential options for refining the framework that will ensure risks associated with the production and supply of personalised medical devices are appropriately mitigated, without imposing unnecessary administrative and regulatory burden.

We encourage you to provide your feedback on the proposed options for refining the framework. You can do this via ATSA your feedback by COB 25 June) If you wish to submit directly to the TGA, The consultation closes 11:59pm 14 July 2021. Information about the consultation, including information about how to submit a response, is available on the TGA website.

Melanie RobertsonPublic consultation open: Potential refinements to the new regulatory framework for personalised medical devices
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COVID-19 vaccination: more information and advice for disability workers

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The Department of Health issued the next COVID-19 vaccination – Disability Provider Alert 2 June 2021.

This includes information on:

  • Priority vaccination for people living in residential disability settings and disability workers in Victoria
  • Ways on how disability workers can get a COVID-19 vaccine
  • COVID-19 vaccine being available to carers of people with a disability
  • Available supports for NDIS providers
  • Informed consent to receive COVID-19 vaccine.

You can find more COVID-19 vaccine resources and information on the Department of Health website:

More information will be published as it becomes available.

Read the alert

Melanie RobertsonCOVID-19 vaccination: more information and advice for disability workers
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TGA’s SME Assist ‘Meeting Your Obligations’ workshop – 23 June 2021

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Are you new to therapeutic goods regulation? Then don’t miss the TGA’s SME Assist online workshop about ‘Meeting Your Obligations’.

It’s a free workshop for those new to or unfamiliar with therapeutic goods regulation, including small to medium enterprises (SMEs), start-ups, and researchers. The workshop will help you navigate the regulatory maze so you understand your obligations at different stages of the regulatory process.

When: Wednesday 23 June 2021, 1:30pm – 4:30pm

Where: Live stream, Therapeutic Goods Administration, Canberra

To register and get more information please visit our registration page.

Melanie RobertsonTGA’s SME Assist ‘Meeting Your Obligations’ workshop – 23 June 2021
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