Imagine being eligible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) but not knowing where to start. And that’s what happened to many service providers when the scheme was first announced. Some even opted for something else or didn’t take advantage of it. There is no denying the fact there is a huge demand for people who can help fellow Australians living with impairments. Before becoming an NDIS provider, you must understand the workings of this exciting and gratifying opportunity. Get ready to change lives and perhaps your own, read on to explore what it takes to become an NDIS provider in Australia today.
Who is an NDIS Provider?
A National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider is an organisation the NDIA approves as a supplier of critical NDIS services.
NDIS providers can be private companies or not-for-profit organisations. They are required to meet stringent criteria and must be self-funded. The NDIS aims to ensure that people with disabilities access high-quality, affordable, sustainable and flexible support in their daily lives, and ensures NDIS providers are vetted to do the same.
An NDIS provider must be able to assist NDIS participants with:
- Assessing the best support package for them and their family.
- Planning their unique care needs and budgeting for the same.
- Providing expert advice on how to access services through the NDIA website.
- Coordinating with other providers and health professionals to ensure your needs are met.
Benefits of a Registered NDIS Provider
The benefits of being an NDIS provider are obvious. From the moment you submit your registration application and get accepted, you will have access to a wide range of services and benefits that make it easier for you to provide support and services to people with disability.
Being an approved provider in the National Disability Insurance Scheme means you will be able to help more people than ever before.
There are so many benefits associated with being registered as an NDIS provider, here are just some of them:
- The opportunity to attend training courses and conferences relevant to your field of expertise.
- The chance to be part of an industry-wide network for support, knowledge sharing and professional development opportunities.
- Access to the NDIS’ extensive online database of resources, tools, training materials and more (including eLearning modules).
- An opportunity to join other providers in a Peer Support Group that promotes best practices throughout the sector.
How to get listed as an NDIS provider
If you’re considering becoming an NDIS provider, there are some things you need to know. You’ll need to register with the NDIS Commission and undergo an audit before the agency considers your application. The registration won’t cost you anything as it is free.
1. Figure Out If You Are Suitable to Become an NDIS Provider
The first step is determining whether you are eligible to become an NDIS provider. You can check with the Department of Human Services (DHS) or your state’s Disability Services Office (DSO). If you’re unsure, it’s best to check with them first.
2. Complete the Online Application Form
One way to start your own business as an NDIS provider is by filling out the online application form. It will ensure that you have all the information in place before submitting your application, so it won’t be rejected because it’s missing something.
3. Undergo an audit
Once you’ve submitted your application, the DSS will conduct an audit on your business practices and financial stability to assess whether they’re suitable for being a disability service provider. This process can take up to six months to complete, depending on how complex your business is and how many questions they ask you about it. You must have a high level of certification before applying so that they’re confident they won’t have any issues with your application in future if they start receiving complaints from clients.
4. Wait for the NDIS Commission to Assess Your Application
The NDIS Commission assesses applications to ensure that they meet the required criteria before they can be approved. The commission uses a range of information to determine if an applicant is suitable to be a provider, including their experience in managing people with disability and their knowledge of the NDIS.
Once all of these things are completed. The next step is for you to wait for around six months for the NDIA to assess your application.
If your application is approved, NDIS will contact you once your business has been entered into the NDIS database. You will then be able to advertise your business on the website or via other email marketing campaigns.
Types of Audits
Audit agencies can audit NDIS providers to assess the quality of their services. These audits are conducted by government agencies, private organisations and third parties.
Third parties can do audits at different levels:
Quality Audit – Quality audits ensure providers provide the best possible service for all NDIS participants. It includes ensuring there is appropriate staff training and that supports are in place to help facilitate different needs.
Certification Audit – Certification audit aims to check how well a provider meets certain standards set out by the NDIS. For example, if a provider has not secured certification under a particular system or methodology, this could affect their ability to continue providing their service as an NDIS provider.
Verification Audit – Verification audit checks whether all information provided by a provider has been verified and accurate. If it has not, then this could result in penalties or even termination of their contract with the NDIS.
How Much Does It Cost To Become A NDIS Provider?
If you are considering becoming a NDIS provider, knowing the costs can help you plan more efficiently. First, registration with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is free. However, you must undertake a NDIS audit against the applicable NDIS Practice Standards from an approved auditor. The audit cost will be covered by you.
There are two types of audits for NDIS providers:
Verification – This audit is for providers offering ‘low risk’ or less complex services such as household tasks or community nursing care. Getting a verification audit can cost anywhere between $900 – $1500.
Certification – This audit applies to ‘higher risk’ or more complex services and supports such as specialist behaviour support or support coordination. This can cost between $3000 – $5000.
In addition, you must factor in administration and ongoing costs for the time it takes to prepare and present the necessary documentation. You must repeat this registration cycle every three years.
What is expected of an NDIS Provider?
As an NDIS provider, you’re expected to meet the needs of people with disabilities in your community.
It means you must:
- Understand the principles of the NDIS and its policies.
- Know about the services and supports available under the NDIS.
- Have access to quality management systems that demonstrate compliance with legislative requirements and best practice.
- Have processes in place for managing risk, including risk management plans for every service delivery area in which you deliver services.
- Provide information on your organisation, staff, procedures and outcomes to clients.
To be a successful NDIS provider, you must understand the NDIS requirements and policies. It would be best if you also manage your business in compliance with them. One of the best ways to decode all the information and regulations is to subscribe to the National Disability Insurance Scheme Connect, and keep up to date with all the latest developments.