Services provided by Allied Health Assistants (AHAs) can now be claimed under National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funding. This means that people living with disability, who receive support from AHAs, can have their funding packages managed by the NDIS.
In this blog we take a look at how AHA’s can register, the benefits to both AHA’s and people living with disability, the ever-increasing advantages of studying a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance, and more!
But let’s start at the beginning …
What is the NDIS?
The NDIS is a major reform to the way disability support is provided in Australia, designed to give people with disability greater choice and control over the services they receive. It entitles people with a “permanent and significant” disability (under the age of 65) to publicly-funded support related to their disability (subject to certain restrictions). Funding is allocated to the individual, and the individual or their guardian chooses which providers supply the funded goods and services.
The scheme was legislated in 2013 and went into full operation in 2020, and is administered by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and overseen by the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission (NDIS Commission).
What is a Registered NDIS Provider?
A registered NDIS provider can be an individual, a business, a sole trader or a not-for-profit organisation. As part of the registration process they are audited to make sure they meet strict requirements to do with safety, quality and compliance in accordance with the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013.
It’s important to note that unregistered providers don’t go through this process and aren’t required to meet the same requirements – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t the same quality as NDIS registered providers. It’s also important to note that the NDIS does not affect the funding arrangements of services provided outside the scheme. This means that AHAs who already provide support to those not registered with the NDIS will continue to do so, and be funded as they were previously.
How do I become NDIS-approved?
In order to become an NDIS approved Allied Health Assistant (AHA), you must meet certain requirements. These include completing a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance, registering with the relevant AHPRA board, and having valid Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII).
Once these criteria have been met, you will need to complete an NDIS registration form with your chosen provider. Once approved, you will be able to provide services to those registered with the NDIS and receive payment from the scheme for these services.
In order to continue providing support as an AHA under the NDIS, you must renew your registration regularly and keep up to date with changes and requirements as outlined in the scheme.
Not sure if you’re ready to register? Check out the Provider Readiness Checklist on the NDIS website. Allied Health Professionals Australia has also launched a dedicated NDIS Registration support website specifically targeting allied health. You can visit it here.
As an Allied Health Assistant is my registration covered by my workplace?
Yes! However, organisations that are registered NDIS providers must fulfil worker screening requirements to ensure that key personnel meet the requirements of NDIS Practice Standards and will not pose any risk to the safety and wellbeing of NDIS participants.
Registered NDIS providers are required to only engage workers who have an NDIS worker screening clearance in certain ‘risk-assessed’ roles. There are some case studies here to help you understand which roles are subject to screening clearance.
States and territories have different arrangements for when a worker must apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check.
Workers engaged to provide NDIS support and services to registered NDIS providers can apply for an NDIS Worker Screening Check through a state or territory agency, which you can find out more about here.
What are the benefits for AHA’s being an NDIS Provider?
The main benefit of being a Registered NDIS Provider is that it broadens the range of people you can deliver support to and elevates your online presence through the NDIS Provider Finder tool. But there are other advantages also:
- The ability to market your services as being a registered provider
- Access to the NDIS myplace provider portal, including tools to manage your bookings and payment processing
- Access to updates and information from the NDIS about business systems and process changes
- Being part of a vibrant and innovative industry.
More broadly, the inclusion of AHAs in the NDIS means AHAs can now offer their services to those registered with the NDIS. This not only opens up new job opportunities, but also more opportunities to provide support, which could include anything from personal care and activities of daily living to therapeutic interventions.
The introduction of the NDIS also helps to promote greater professionalism and better pay for AHAs, as the scheme places an emphasis on quality allied health services that are tailored to individual needs.
What are the benefits of AHA’s being NDIS Providers to the wider health industry?
By providing certified professionals with better working conditions, this should encourage more people to join the profession and help meet the growing demand for AHA services.
NDIS Providers increasingly understand that utilising AHAs can benefit their business in several ways:
- Free up Allied Health Professionals (AHPs) to focus on high-level therapeutic assessment and clinical services only they can deliver
- Provide greater value for money for clients as they will receive more service hours per dollar in their NDIS plan
- Help reduce the current long waiting lists for some services.
Allied Health Assistants are crucial to solving the shortage of AHPs, particularly in regional and remote areas. Research has shown that increasing the use of AHAs in a paraprofessional role to support AHP’s not only helps alleviate this shortage but provides other benefits to clients, providers, and the sector as a whole.
How will it benefit those living with disabilities?
The inclusion of AHAs in the NDIS provides an opportunity for improved care and support for people with disability. It will provide a level of flexibility that was previously unavailable, as people with disability have greater choice and control over the services and support they receive, as well as better value for their money.
It will also provide greater access to quality allied health services that are tailored to their own individual needs.
Finally, let’s look at the benefits of studying Allied Health?
Studying Allied Health will provide you with the skills and knowledge needed to provide quality care and support services that will make a difference to the lives of people living with disability. This could include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, community rehab and more – depending on the type of allied health certification you decide to pursue.
By studying Allied Health, you will acquire a range of skills and knowledge that will prepare you for both clinical and non-clinical roles in the disability sector, as well as help you become a more effective communicator and build relationships with both patients and other healthcare professionals.
There are many benefits to studying allied health and entering the profession, ultimately making it an incredibly rewarding experience. Onfit’s Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance has been identified as the qualification best aligned to allied health assistant roles.
To sum up, the inclusion of AHAs in the NDIS is a positive move for both Allied Health Assistants and those living with disability – helping create better outcomes for everyone.
If you’re interested in enrolling in or finding out more information about a career as an Allied Health Assistant head to the course page here, or contact our team here to ask any questions and further discuss your study and career options. You might also like to read our blog “What to Expect Studying a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance”.