Almost a year on from the start of the pandemic, we’re looking back at the support that the government has given to NDIS providers.
Whilst the whole sector should be thankful for the support that has been given, there are some worrying statistics to come out of the last 12 months that suggest that some support is still needed.
NDS’s Disability Sector Report reported that, last year, 69% of providers recorded a profit – up from 54% in 2019. Whilst this is a figure that shows improvements in the sector, how much of this can be attributed to the jobkeeper stimulus package?
Every business owner – big or small – knows that wages are a huge overhead, and most small organisations wouldn’t have been able to survive without the government’s help to cover this expense.
Despite the growth in the number of providers making a profit, it is still worrying that 31% of providers struggled to break even, and some still posted losses, at a time where salaries were covered.
Coming off Jobkeeper subsidies will be a huge challenge for many providers, and the NDIS program has already lost 643 providers during 2020.
What Can We Do As Providers?
Of course, we can’t survive off government stimulus packages forever. Many organisations, particularly non-profits, have been relying on private and public grants, but even those are starting to dry up.
The NDIS Quality and Safeguarding Commission noted that 3,337 providers have let their registration lapse and 92% of those were not active.
So what can we do to ensure survival – and even growth – as service providers?
Expansion of Online Services
Across Australia, seemingly endless waitlists belong to almost every medium-to-large provider. This is particularly the case in regional and rural parts of the country.
By expanding into online services, small providers can look to take on the waitlists of larger organisations.
Given the nature of Umbo’s online service delivery, we are able to offer a quicker speech and occupational therapy alternative to families who are on waiting lists. That’s not to say we’re taking clients off our competitors, but we’re giving families the option to receive support, as opposed joining waitlists and in some instances waiting for up to 18mths to start therapy.
Have you had good results with online therapy? Take our FREE online therapy training course and see how you can improve therapy outcomes!
Increase the Flexibility of Your Staff
By taking on extra staff, businesses usually have to make extra office space, and numerous staff additions can lead to newer, bigger, more expensive offices.
But if you’re offering online services and keeping a flexible arrangement with staff, working from home is a great option for them.
Not only are you saving money and office space, but you’re giving people who can’t commit to a full-time job a way to carry on working. On top of that, you’re increasing the workforce of a sector which is currently stretched to its limits (and it’s only going to get worse).
So now you’re expanding the delivery of services, making your bottom line more sustainable, and allowing a therapist access to a new way of working resulting in extra income in the household. Talk about a win-win!
Umbo uses this approach in order to solve supply and demand challenges. Depending on Demand, Umbo scales up or down the hours of clinician consultations, many of who work as independent contractors. The overall benefit is the significantly reduced waiting times for families in need.
Looking for flexible work? Apply to join Umbo’s team!
Now is the time for providers to look out for one another and use their joint goals and objectives to work together.
Umbo has several partnerships in the disability space, such as The Benevolent Society, Mackillop Family Services & Kerin Physio Co. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to help the families we do, and we encourage more providers to partner with other organisations for both long-term and short-term gain.
We put it all together by doing everything in collaboration with supply and demand – after all that’s why we got into this.
As soon as we have space available, we reach out to partners & see what short-term relief we can offer to them and their families.
When we hit our maximum capacity, we don’t wait for huge waitlists to build up in order to justify a full-time therapist. We simply match the supply with the demand by bringing in flexible staff.
And when families finish up with us and the demand starts to fall, we start the loop all over again, slowly building on the numbers from the previous cycle.
Where to go from here?
Partnerships are going to be key to keeping providers afloat in 2021.
We’re always looking to partner with new organisations and providers. So if you want to get involved with Umbo and see how we can help each other to help families across Australia, get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org