Allied Health Professions Australia (AHPA) welcomes the announcement by Minister for Social Services, Paul Fletcher, that therapy prices would increase from July 1st, 2019 and would continue to consist of a single price level for most services. The announcement comes after some 12 months of uncertainty in the sector after recommendations from the McKinsey and Company Independent Pricing Review proposed a tiered pricing structure for therapy services based around participant complexity.
Under the new pricing structure, therapy service price caps will increase from around $178 to around $190 for all services other than psychology which will now have a separate reimbursement cap set at approximately $210. This applies to all psychological therapy services including specialist behaviour support. In addition, the new pricing structure will set higher rates for physiotherapy and psychology in the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, and West Australia. A higher price cap of $230 will apply to psychology services and a higher cap of $220 will apply to physiotherapy services.
AHPA understands the higher prices for some regions is based on research by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) showing that pricing for those services was higher in some states and territories with the result that participants were likely to struggle to purchase services without higher price caps. While in general AHPA believes that a flat pricing structure across professions is appropriate, we recognise the primary need to ensure participant access to services and that there may be cases in which pricing may need to be adjusted temporarily to address potential access issues. We expect to see these various price rates flatten out again over time as those markets mature and as other workforce initiatives are undertaken.
In addition, AHPA understand the NDIA is now seeking to undertake short-term work on a review of the transportation and cancellation policies introduced on July 1st, 2018, to ensure that these are meeting the needs of participants and providers. The NDIA is also seeking to develop additional information for participants and providers around pricing to improve understanding of the services and activities that participants can be charged for. AHPA and its member associations will seek to work with the NDIA on these activities in the coming months and will provide updated information as it becomes available.
For further information on the Minister’s announcement, please visit www.ndis.gov.au/news