The NDIS holds opportunities for aged care providers, an industry conference has heard, but they shouldn’t rush in unprepared or approach it as just another revenue source.
Delegates attending an open forum at the LASA Congress last week heard that while it was long-established that residential aged care isn’t necessarily the best setting for young people with a disability, many providers are getting involved in the disability sphere.
And while a number of existing aged care providers were entering the NDIS market, there was also interest from disability organisations that were “strategically” entering the aged care market by becoming approved home care providers.
As of June 30 2017 there were 6,662 younger people with a disability living in residential aged care, the forum heard. In 2016-17 some 2,660 people under 65 entered care. There are currently 542 people under the age of 49 and 5700 aged 50-64 in residential aged care.
Will the NDIS be beneficial for our aged care providers?
Darrell Price of accounting group Grant Thornton said the national rollout of the NDIS would bring benefits for aged care providers and clarify some of the uncertainly around funding for people who are under 65.
But he also warned aged care providers against viewing disability as just an “alternative revenue source”.
“Over time we need to get those people out, they are not in the right place. But the models of accommodation and the services that are available just don’t exist,” he said.
“My concern is aged care providers will see this as an alternate revenue source from the traditional aged care, and if we leave it too long that it’ll become a habitual pattern of how we do things and the scheme will lose the opportunity to create models of care and accommodation for the people need it.”
Richard Little of Xavier said the NDIA offered a “huge opportunity” for service providers to come up with new models, but providers seemed wedded to the “old service types” instead of looking at innovative solutions.
“That’s really what the NDI’s after, they’re after new models,” he said. “They’re not after replication of the old models – and particularly where there is an interface.”
In particular there were of opportunities around supported disability accommodation and supported independent living, he said.
Price said the entry of a slew of new providers into the disability space over the last three years was a reflection of the opportunities the NDIS was creating.
“Some providers are saying ‘we can create an new environment using what we know about our product and development skills … and it will actually be a better environment for those people.
“There’s business opportunities there. But you need to understand what your core strengths and capabilities are, and how they can apply to this market.
“Those guys who think they can just jump into a disability services model which is different from their capabilities, resources, practices, policies and understanding of the aged care market will face risk, and its something you really need to think through.
Providers should also consider opportunities for collaboration, he said.
“This industry has been a specialist collaborator over a long period of time – have a look around at what’s going on and who’s out there. It could provide an opportunity for renewed growth and it de-risks your entry into a disability services model.”
LASA is planning a series of working groups on how providers can navigate the intersection between the NDIS and the aged sector and is seeking participants.
If you’ve got an opinion on whether the NDIS presents opportunities for aged care providers leave a comment below or have your say in the online poll on our home page.