Members of the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) have reacted strongly to the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) acceptance of recommendations from the recently released Independent Pricing Review conducted by McKinsey & Company.

The APA has serious concerns over several of the report’s 25 recommendations, which it believes will adversely impact physiotherapists’ ability to effectively deliver quality care to people with disabilities.

Specifically, the APA’s major concerns revolve around the recommendations for:

  • The reform of the price-setting methodology—The tiered pricing for the three levels of physiotherapy - which appears to be based on compensation models - assume that participants with less complex needs do not require a high level of skill in their treatment, which is counter to efficient and effective care.
  • The definition of complexity and the role of specialist planning teams —NDIS staff are not qualified to determine the complexity of care a participant requires and therefore cannot adequately determine the level of funding they require.
  • The way that travel is treated within the scheme—Participants’ ability to access prescribed equipment and therapy in their own homes will be adversely affected if physiotherapists are not adequately compensated to travel to rural and remote areas. Similarly, for metropolitan participants, providing funding for the first 20 minutes of a physiotherapist’s travel time often does not cover the full extent of travel required.

APA National President Phil Calvert is strongly opposed to the implementation of these recommendations, and is particularly concerned about the lack of consultation during the review process. “The APA and other health organisations whose NDIS participants will be adversely affected by these recommendations were not given the opportunity to discuss them before they were made.”

“Our members are justifiably concerned that the quality of treatment services for people living with a range of disabilities will in fact be reduced by this reformed price structure that is based on the flawed structures of some compensable schemes.”

“I have the utmost respect for the NDIS and the opportunity it offers participants to make a positive difference in their lives, but there is a real risk that it could have the opposite effect if these recommendations are implemented. Many of our members are already considering their position, with some suggesting they will deregister as NDIS providers if the recommendations are implemented without further consultation.”

“I strongly urge the NDIA to pull back on the speed of its implementation strategy and consult more widely with the key health bodies so that a more workable solution can be secured.”

Phil Calvert is available for further comment or interview.


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