So what do Providers need to do?
Providers need to ensure that they are aware of all their obligations that come with delivering the NDIS; many of these obligations can be found in the Terms of Business document that establishes what these obligations are and refers Providers to key documents that form part of the terms they must act on. In addition, Providers are still required to comply with the relevant quality frameworks established under the Disability Act 2006 until such time as a nationally consistent Quality and Safeguarding framework has been rolled out.
Ensure you have a compliant service agreement
Alongside these legal obligations, Providers need to ensure they have developed or acquired an NDIS specific service agreement for the new Scheme. If Providers are unsure, the NDIA has developed a Model Service Agreement. Russell Kennedy has developed a more comprehensive agreement template, in a ready to use format that offers:
- More detail about price variations to ensure a Provider can continue to charge the maximum price permitted by the NDIA.
- Provides for how fees for unfunded supports will be determined and managed.
- Provides better clarity for participants and Providers in relation to the cancellation of services and non-attendance by the Participant.
Providers of accommodation must have a separate accommodation agreement
As supported accommodation providers transition to the NDIS you will need to enter into Specialist Disability Accommodation Agreements with participants in addition to Service Agreements where you also provide independent living supports to those Participants. At the time of publication the NDIA have not put out a model agreement. Russell Kennedy is developing an agreement that will ensure compliance with the Terms of Business for Specialist Disability Service Providers and the residential services requirements of the Victorian Disability Act 2006. As a result of this transition pricing of accommodation will now be governed by the Specialist Disability Accommodation Pricing Guide. Whilst the setting and collection of accommodation charges will transition to the NDIS framework, notice requirements, residents’ rights and access by community visitors will continue in accordance with the Victorian Disability Act.
First time providers of disability services and supports
Providers who are newly entering the Scheme need to review the Guide to suitability requirements to determine what kind of funding they can obtain under the Scheme. Even if a new Provider is not subject to the safeguarding requirements that state funded Disability Service Providers currently are they will still need to comply with these state based regulatory requirements as a condition of registration as a service provider. Practically, this means they will need to comply with the Human Services Standards and the Funded Agency Channel Departmental Policies and Procedures such as incident reporting and safety screening.
Ensure you have the right level of insurance protection
Registered Providers must maintain an adequate level of insurance, including public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance, and workers compensation insurance when employing workers. A significant majority of community service organisations that are currently funded to provide disability services by the Victorian State Government have insurance through the Victorian Managed Insurance Agency funded by the Department of Health and Human Services. Providers that do not have current coverage with the VMIA must ensure that they have adequate coverage for activities that they undertake in relation to the provision of NDIS funded supports and services.