Pathway improvement update – number five

In this update, we provide information about:

  • how we are improving the participant experience
  • progress of tailored pathways for participants
  • improvements to the provider finder
  • a transcript and feedback from our recent provider webinar

Improving participant experience through our pathway pilot in Victoria

Since November 2017, we have been providing regular updates on the participant pathway pilot in the Outer East Melbourne, Hume-Moreland and Bayside Peninsula areas of Victoria. This pilot has been focused on planning to achieve goals and outcomes.

So far, more than 1000 participants have experienced face-to-face pre-planning with their Local Area Coordinator (LAC), there have been more than 400 plans approved and over 150 plans implemented.

All participants in the pilot sites are offered the opportunity to have face-to-face pre-planning discussions to make sure people feel ready to develop a plan. As at end of April 2018, 84 per cent of participants in the trial have decided to participate in face-to-face pre-planning. The other 16 per cent of participants chose alternative pre-planning options such as Skype or telephone planning, depending on their individual preferences and circumstances.

Early feedback from participants, their families and staff involved in the pilot has been encouraging. The NDIA has surveyed participants and family and/or carers involved in the pilot. Of those surveyed:

  • 94 per cent of participants said the person from NDIS understood how their disability affected their life
  • 89 per cent of families/carers said the person from NDIS understood how the participants disability affected them as a family member/carer
  • 92 per cent of participants said that decisions regarding their plan were clearly explained

Feedback from people involved in the pilot will continue to provide meaningful insight into how it is working. After one mother finished a face-to-face planning meeting with her son, she told us that it was the first time in many years she felt her son had a voice, and had been listened to. This is what the pathway pilot is all about.

There are also some challenges, including managing the logistics around the pilot planning approach and continuing to build the skills and capabilities of planners.

We will use the feedback and insights from the pilot to continue to refine the pathway experience alongside rolling out national improvements.

Tailored pathways

Since October 2017, the NDIA have held 37 workshops with over 1100 participants, their families and carers, providers, and other key stakeholders. The aim of these workshops has been to design tailored enhancements to the pathways to make sure the NDIA supports the specific and unique needs of people from a variety of groups and backgrounds during the planning process. Those tailored elements are designed to support:

  • Participants with complex support needs;
  • Children aged zero to six;
  • Participants with psychosocial disability;
  • Participants from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • Remote and very remote communities; and
  • LGBTQIA+ communities.

This collaborative approach is bringing together participants, their families and carers, and key external stakeholders to make sure the new pathways implement effective improvements. We are working with representatives from the sector such as Mental Health Australia, National Ethnic Disability Alliance and Disability Advocacy Network Australia, industry experts and frontline practitioners, providers, and state and territory government officials.

Key themes that emerged during these workshops include: the need for improved and targeted NDIS resources and communication products, improvements to training for NDIA staff and LAC partners, and stronger connections with local communities regarding the rollout of the NDIS.

By continuing to engage with these groups, we will be better able to develop tailored improvements to the new pathway that supports all the groups of people transitioning to the NDIS. The NDIA will continue to design, test and deploy the new tailored pathway approach over the coming months.

Provider finder tool

As part of the pathway improvements, we are enhancing the provider finder tool, available in the myplace participant and provider portals.

These improvements to the provider finder tool will make it easier for:

  • participants to locate and connect with providers that meet their needs and goals
  • providers to update their information available to participants, so that participants can make informed choices about their supports and services

The improved features include the ability for participants to:

  • search by a list of support types and categories that matches their plan
  • search by suburb, town, city and postcode
  • access a ‘recently used providers’ list of the last five providers with whom they had a service booking
  • access provider websites and contact details in search results
  • view providers with an ‘accepting referrals’ status

These new features of the provider finder were implemented in May 2018, and further improvements are planned for late July 2018.

Process for Assistive Technology

We have also established the Assistive Technology (AT) and Home Modification Redesign Project, and are rolling out improvements to existing processes for quoting and claiming for AT.

We have implemented the first phase of AT changes, which will help the approximately 45 per cent of participants who are likely to require low-cost (Level 1 and 2) AT items access funding and equipment in a timely manner. In addition, there will be no requirement for therapy reports or quotes to support the inclusion of Level 1 and 2 AT items in a participant’s plan. We will be releasing a new factsheet for participants who have funding for Level 1 and 2 AT to help with understanding their funding and how to purchase their equipment.

The next phase of this project will consider the processes for Level 3 and 4 AT funding, and how these can be improved for both participants and providers.

Provider Engagement

Following a series of provider forums held across the country, over 2100 providers logged on to the NDIA’s national provider forum webinar on 24 April 2018.

The webinar followed a series of nine provider forums held across the country earlier this year, and provided a national update on the Pathway Review, the implementation of the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission, and the Independent Pricing Review.

Attendance remained high throughout the webinar – 82% of respondents thought the webinar provided a good opportunity to ask questions. The majority of respondents believed the NDIA is making progress on improving the provider experience.

A transcript of the webinar is now available on the NDIS website, and an accessible video of the one hour webinar will be available shortly.

Sign up to our Provider eNewsletter and access the webcast recording live on the NDIS website.