NDIS: Funding falls short in efforts to save on intensive care

The $132 million allocated within the National Disability Insurance Scheme to divert people away from its most intensive tier of support is “not sufficient” to support the millions of people who will be affected, leading to a long-term threat to the program’s sustainability.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws show the NDIS board’s Independent Advisory Council was warned of the situation — which will particularly hit the mental health sector — in December, just weeks before a draft consultation paper was released by the NDIS agency.

“The council was informed of the main issues arising from the sector including ... the unmet needs of individuals who will not enter the scheme as participants, as the modest level of information, linkages and capacity (ILC) building funding will not be sufficient,” minutes from the IAC meeting reveal.

The $22 billion NDIS will deliver personalised funding for 460,000 of the most profoundly disabled people in Australia but the scheme also has a poorly understood second tier for those people who will not make the cut-off.

This tier, formerly known as Tier 2 but now rebadged as the ILC, works on the simple premise that people with low and moderate disabilities won’t qualify for the NDIS, but they may in years to come if they don’t get some support now.

Therefore, a robust ILC is key to the future financial stability of the entire NDIS, as its chairman Bruce Bonyhady has said.

The minutes from the meeting also reveal confusion over whether “existing state and commonwealth programs ... are covered under ILC”.

One of the key drivers of this confusion is the state of the mental health sector and who will be covered once the NDIS is fully launched.

There are about 600,000 people with serious psychosocial illnesses in Australia and 300,000 of these are described as having “complex, multi-agency” needs.

The NDIS was originally designed to cover 60,000 of them, with the remainder being screened out by a controversial test of “permanency” used by the agency, which discounts people with serious but episodic illness.

“It is quite clear that the NDIS cannot and should not meet all of the demand for mental health services that the community needs, but what is currently missing is any sort of comprehensive plan that draws the link between what the NDIS will provide and the services and programs that will be delivered by ongoing mental health programs in the community,” Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan told The Australian.


Read more at http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/ndis-funding-falls-short-in-efforts-to-save-onintensive-care/news-story/ccbb0c7bb0dbdd4b770dc42fd8c81530


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