Participants of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) may wish to start receiving supports from a new provider, end supports from their current provider or transition from one provider to another.
Under the NDIS Practice Standards, there are requirements in place to ensure that participants are able to transition to and from providers in an organised and safe way.
Why Might a Participant Want to Change NDIS Providers?
A participant may wish to change providers for a variety of reasons, including:
The provider no longer being able to provide supports that meet the participant’s needs, whether this be due to a change in the participant’s goals, or a change in the services offered by the provider
Dissatisfaction with the provider
An increase in the cost of supports.
(Independence Australia Group 2021)
Despite this, participants have no obligation to inform their current provider why they would like to change providers (Independence Australia Group 2021).
What is the Process for Changing NDIS Providers?
1. Reassessing the Situation
The participant should reassess their current situation, taking into consideration why they would like to change providers and what kind of supports they would like to receive from their new provider. They should also revisit their NDIS plan in order to determine whether their goals have changed and check how much funding they have available (CareAbout 2021).
2. Ending Current Supports
The participant needs to end their current supports, ideally in a way that causes the least amount of disruption, conflict and confusion possible (CareAbout 2021).
There may be specific steps outlined in the service agreement that the participant needs to take in order to finalise their relationship with the provider. Examples include:
Giving a certain period of notice before ending supports
Following a specific procedure to notify the provider (e.g. notifying them through writing)
Obtaining acknowledgment from the provider of the participant’s request to end supports
Obtaining final reports or documentation from the provider
Cancelling supports through the NDIS MyPlace portal (if applicable)
Paying cancellation fees.
(CareAbout 2021; Independence Australia Group 2021)
3. Choosing a New Provider
The participant should select a new provider, taking into account:
Their NDIS budget
The new provider’s location
The cost of services
The types of services offered
The provider’s customer service and methods of communication
The level of control and choice that the provider allows
The provider’s complaints resolution process.
Considerations for Both Providers
The provider that is transitioning the participant’s supports to another provider should consider:
How information about the participant’s care needs will be shared with the receiving provider
Ways in which they can help the receiving provider take over the supports, for example, by:
Sharing discharge summaries and behaviour support plans
Holding a case conference prior to handover
Mentoring the receiving provider about the participant’s care needs.
(SafeWork NSW 2020)
The receiving provider should consider:
How they will obtain information about the participant’s care needs
Who is responsible for performing a risk assessment and when this will occur
Any identified risk factors
How risk controls will be decided upon, and whether they can be implemented
Any high-level controls (e.g. staffing ratio, training, supervision) that can be implemented
How workers will be informed about the participant’s care needs and risk controls. This should preferably be put into writing.
(SafeWork NSW 2020)
Changing Providers Due to a Change in Circumstances
Participants must advise the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) of any changes in circumstances that affect either:
Their access request
Their status as an NDIS participant
Their NDIS plan.
Examples of these types of changes in circumstances include:
Changes in disability support needs
Significant changes in informal care arrangements
Applying for, receiving or being entitled to compensation for injury
Moving house, moving overseas or moving into residential aged care.
Transitions To and From Providers in the NDIS Practice Standards
This Practice Standard aims to ensure that transitions to and from NDIS providers are planned and coordinated (NDIS 2020a).
Transitions To and From Providers Quality Indicators
NDIS providers must meet the following quality indicators:
Collaboration With Participants
Providers should have procedures in place to facilitate transitions in collaboration with participants who are commencing or ending services. These transitions should be documented, communicated and effectively managed (WAAMH 2021).
It may be helpful to develop a standardised transition plan template to use participants, containing information such as:
The participant’s goals and desired outcomes
The participant’s progress made with the provider
The participant’s triggers and safeguarding mechanisms
Key members of the participant’s support network.
Providers must identify, document and respond to any risks associated with the commencement or conclusion of services (NDIS 2020a).
Mismanaged care transitions have been found to pose a risk of serious or life-threatening harm to those living with disabilities (NDIS 2020b).
Potential risks during the transition to or from services include:
Transitions being performed during emergent situations
Lack of understanding about the participant’s needs or behaviours
Unmaintained equipment (e.g. mobility support equipment) or equipment not being provided
Participants transitioning to providers that are not equipped to manage their needs
Staff being unfamiliar with the participant or not appropriately trained to perform required support tasks.
(SafeWork NSW 2020)
Processes for Transitioning
Providers must develop, apply, review and communicate their processes for commencing and concluding services (NDIS 2020a).