The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will trial the effectiveness of health professionals in assessing the functional capacity of people with disability in a new pilot announced today.
The pilot, which will run this month until February 2019 will look at the use of independent health professionals in using standardised tools that help determine the functional impact a person’s disability has on their capacity to participate in their community, workplace and social activities.
Voluntary and free of charge, the pilot is available to people who have already applied to the NDIS and are awaiting a decision or people who have already had their access confirmed and are awaiting a NDIS plan.
NDIA Chief Executive Officer, Robert De Luca says the pilot is a move towards improving the consistency, accuracy and reliability of the NDIS.
“Participants and their families have told us they want the NDIS to be more consistent and equitable.”
The pilot will have particular focus on access and planning decisions, which have shown to be variable for participants with autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or psychosocial disability.
There will also be an opportunity for participants, families, carers, the sector and providers to provide feedback on the experience to help shape future improvements to the planning process and access of the Scheme.
Co-CEO of People with Disability Australia, Therese Sands cautiously welcomes the pilot and hopes it will lead to fair, equitable and sustainable access and planning decisions for people with disability.
“People with disability often raise with us the distress that inequity in NDIS planning decisions can cause, and the impact of not getting essential supports,” she explains.
“We are also pleased to see that the pilot is potentially a move away from using a diagnostic approach to assessment towards a focus on what people with disability actually need to live a good and equal life.”
“However, we remain cautious about this pilot because of the potential of it being used in a way that might reduce people’s access to the NDIS.”
Ms Sands says PWDA will be watching closely to hopes the NDIA will be fully transparent about the implications and outcomes of the pilot.