The NDIS Roll Out: What’s in store for your organisation?February 11, 2016
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is set to roll out across most of the country from July 2016. And it’s going to seriously shake up the disability care sector.
Once the scheme is rolled out, disability care will no longer be a one-size-fits-all approach. People living with a disability will have more choice and control over their care plan. Funding will attach to individuals rather than providers, so people can vote with their feet.
That means you’ll be competing with other providers. You can’t rely on ongoing revenue from grants that just keep rolling over.
The sector is in for some serious disruption – so how can your business survive and thrive in this new environment? How can you get ahead of the pack?
Tracking is key
In the past, providers were given funding with very few strings attached. You didn’t have to track how much money had been spent on hours of care, or report outcomes against your business decisions.
Those days will soon be gone. The NDIS makes providing care information a condition of getting paid. You’ll have to track:
- Hours of care provided for specific individuals
- Type of care provided.
You’ll also have to report all this via the Provider Portal: an online system for lodging payment claims. If you don’t provide this information, you don’t get paid.
So does your current workforce reporting system equip you to track time in enough detail? Are you set up to report the information you need to stay viable?
Our solution – easyEMPLOYER – is one of the few workforce systems that lets you track times, location and tasks against reporting requirements. A simple handwritten timesheet isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Efficiency is the new order
In the past, relaxed oversight meant that disability care providers had more buffer in their budgets. If you over-ran in one area, you could use allocated money to cover the shortfall. You didn’t need to show detailed proof that the funding was being spent on a certain number of hours of care.
Now, the heightened level of scrutiny means that operations will have to get leaner to survive.
The reflex reaction can be to cut staffing costs, as we’ve discussed in previous posts. However, that can leave clients under-serviced and cost you in the long run.
Another opportunity is to find efficiencies elsewhere, including in your workforce management systems. For example, you can streamline repetitive HR tasks by automating timesheet completion.
With fewer resources absorbed in those tasks, your management and admin team can spend more time optimising your processes to be more competitive.
Integration is the next step forward
As you move your business systems online, you may be looking at your software load starting to add up. Book-keeping, accounting, payroll, workflows, customer relationship management… Do you aim to get one custom package that will take care of everything for you – or do you look for a combination of applications?
….and remember there are several Government funded schemes that have been put in place to assist organisations with resources – so check with your local government provider to see whether you are entitled to financial assistance.
Technology: the vital tools every organisation needs to manage the NDIS
The disability care sector is set for a major shakeup with the introduction of the NDIS and having the right software in place will help you adjust to the changes ahead. But should you aim to get one custom package that will take care of everything for you – or do you look for a combination of applications?
One solution to rule them all?
Whether or not you need a custom application is really a matter of scale. If you’re getting up towards enterprise level (1500+ employees), then a custom-developed application can be a good solution. And if you’re a smaller operation (say 10 employees or less), an Excel spreadsheet may be enough to get you by.
In our experience, though, there are plenty of business that fall through the cracks. It’s in the 10-1500 employee range that the equation shifts. You don’t necessarily want to invest in custom software, but an excel spreadsheet that crashes every five minutes won’t cut it. In this market, off-the-shelf applications may try to cover all your bases, but just aren’t sophisticated enough to keep pace.
That’s why we recommend a combination of best-of-breed applications. Look for tools that will integrate with each other. You get enterprise-level functionality, but without the big enterprise price tag.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE APPLICATIONS WE RECOMMEND:
BUDGETING AND CASHFLOW FORECASTING
For budgeting and cashflow management, look at Calxa. Not only does it pull data from your accounting system, such as MYOB or Xero, it also simplifies managing budgets for projects and programmes. If you’re a disability care provider, you’ll often have several different programs running, each with their own funding stream. Calxa will help you keep track of it all.
ACCOUNTING AND BOOKKEEPING
With the NDIS, bookkeeping will get more complicated. Unfortunately you’ll no longer be given funding in lump sums. Instead, you’ll have to apply for payment for services you’ve provided to individuals. A good solution to look at is MYOB for accounting and bookkeeping, as it allows you to add applications that are tailored to your sector.
CLIENT / CASE MANAGEMENT
Under the NDIS, you’ll now have to report on hours of care provided to individuals, as well as the type of care provided. Client and case management has never been more important.
You might like to look at a solution such as Community Data Solutions (CDS) because they’re offering is tailored for the disability sector. For example, CDS’s database integrates with the NDIA portal for simple claim payment processing. It also integrates with easyEMPLOYER, so you can manage both your workforce and clients at once.
Another company worth looking at is Infoexchange. Infoexchange is a social enterprise that specialises in technology for social and community care organisations and have a few solutions for client and case management. Their solutions also integrate into the multiple portals required (including the NDIA portal).
Either solution will handle the client and case requirements that you will have as a community care organisation, including the integration into the portals required. Both products will work efficiently alongside easyEMPLOYER to ensure minimal ongoing maintenance overhead.
Our workforce management solution, easyEMPLOYER, works exceptionally well for the disability sector. Not only will it increase efficiency by streamlining scheduling and communication and automating timesheet completion, it also tracks times, locations and tasks against clients to assist with NDIS reporting.
For payroll management, we suggest you look at ezypayroll. This is a virtual payroll office that looks after everything from processing wages, through to processing adjustments, annual salaries, superannuation, payroll text, work cover, terminations and more.
As the NDIS now creates an environment where you are directly competing with other disability care organisations, optimising your processes will give you a competitive edge.
For workflow management, look at Datanova’s Flow Logic. This software allows you to collect data and gain insight across multiple systems. As with several of the packages we’ve mentioned, Flow Logic is designed to address the unique needs of Australian community care organisations.
What happens now?
This wraps up our take on how the NDIS will change the disability care sector and what tools will help you best succeed in the new operating environment…. but it doesn’t end there.
The NDIS is coming and it won’t be waiting for anyone and it definitely won’t be forgiving on businesses who aren’t ready for it… so where to now really depends on you as a business manager / owner. There are still a few months until the NDIS swings into action so take advantage of that time to put your organisation in the best position possible to manage all of the changes.
To find out more about how we help care providers manage their workforces effectively and also get ready for the NDIS visit Aged, Disability & Home Care… made easy.
Ready to start implementing technology to help you operate in the new NDIS environment? Want to automate the mundane, simplify the complexity in your business and save serious amounts of time and money? If so, then you can contact the providers above directly, or contact us and we will assist you with more information or any questions you might have about the solutions outlined. Easy!