Therapist Frequently Asked Questions

How does it work if Umbo is a social enterprise?

As a social enterprise, Umbo is structured more like a business than a charity. The best way to describe how this exists on a day to day level is through the two words - social and enterprise.

Umbo delivers social impact through ensuring the majority of its clients are vulnerable populations, with the majority of them being rurally based. We also will discount sessions on occasions if clients cannot afford to pay. On top of financial metrics, Umbo tracks social impact metrics and reports them internally and externally. Umbo also reinvests 50% of its profit back into the company to deliver social impact, by assisting even more vulnerable communities in Australia.

Umbo is an enterprise just as any other business is, with budgets, revenue targets and other KPIs. Another way of looking at this is - in order to continue delivering social impact for clients, Umbo needs to be financially sustainable. For clinicians on a day to day level, this means that the Umbo team will ensure you are performing in your role to contribute to Umbo's overall success.

What are the common caseloads Umbo clinicians are likely to see?

Our caseload is diverse and includes individuals from a range of age groups. We work with clients from birth, up to adults in their 90s.

Approximately 80% of our clients have National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plans, and the rest are private paying clients.

Of our paediatric clients, many have a diagnosis of Autism, some have diagnosed intellectual disabilities, others have developmental delays and some have chromosomal conditions such as Down Syndrome. Private paediatric clients tend to be referred for speech (fluency, articulation) and language difficulties, or for OT support around handwriting, emotional regulation or fine and gross motor skills. 

Of our adult clients, many live in supported accommodation and have diagnosed disabilities. 

What kinds of hours am I expected to work?

At Umbo we prioritise flexibility and encourage our clinicians to work on their own terms. We want you to work where (for example, you can work overseas) and when you want to, within reason. A minimum of 15 hours a week as a commitment is ideal, and we appreciate it when clinicians are able to contribute more.  We have some clinicians who are working over 30 hours a week, for example.

These hours should be provided when clients demand services. For example, our paediatric clients typically require after school hours.

We have found our therapist generally find that a minimum of two working days per week are needed to fulfil requirements at Umbo.

This 15 hours includes direct (client-facing), indirect (report and clinical note writing) and internal (supervision and management meeting) time.

At Umbo we do apply workplace adjustments for those who need it, including therapist who have a disability.

What is the nature of the recruitment model at Umbo?

Umbo’s entire model centres around having clinicians work when and where they want. As such, we have a contractor relationship with our clinicians. Clinicians are paid to provide services to Umbo clients. 

Umbo also provides the following for its clinicians: 

  • Compliance - the cost of ensuring that Umbo and your practice complies within legal and NDIS frameworks.
  • Technology and finance - the cost of maintaining and running clinical management  software/systems and financial management and systems, includes sending invoices and debt collection. 
  • Administration - organisational wide administration involving HR, clinical specific administration including client forms and records, therapist onboarding admin and documentation, customer service.
  • Partnerships/referral development - the cost of connecting our clinicians with rural communities who are lacking access to services. Note that the cost of this is higher for a social enterprise seeking to service marginalised communities than, for example, a bricks and mortar private practice in urban Australia. We ensure that we are attracting clients who match the clinician's specialty.
  • Clinical intake -  liaising with a client's stakeholders during onboarding (e.g. support coordinators, case managers, AHAs, referral partner etc), and coordinating with therapists on which clients they would like to take on.
  • Clinical supervision - the cost of training, onboarding and supervising clinicians to maintain quality control, effective teamwork and sharing of resources.
As a contractor, what kind of requirements do I need to work with Umbo?

Experience tells us that some of these requirements can take weeks or months to process, so we recommend having them in order as early as possible:

  • Australian Business Number
  • Certified Practising Membership with APHRA/SPA
  • Current Working with Children Check (or State equivalent)
  • National Police Clearance
  • Current professional indemnity (min $20m) and public liability insurance (min $5m)
  • NDIS Worker Screening Check
  • Medicare Provider Number
Does it matter where I live?

Absolutely not! As long as you can meet the requirements above (some of which have traditionally required an Australian postal address), and can see clients when there is demand (typically during and after hours), then we don't mind where you live.

We have clinicians in different parts of the world, and some have even moved overseas midway through their time with us. We have some who are permanently travelling across Australia or overseas. All we ask is that you are able to maintain the clients' appointment times as you move. 

What kinds of resources am I expected to bring, as a contractor?

Umbo’s entire model centres around having clinicians work when and where they want. As such, we have a contractor relationship with our clinicians. Clinicians are paid to provide services to Umbo clients. 

Umbo does, however, pay for meeting attendance which is optional. We also provide assessment and therapy resources, and provide a client management system and video conferencing platform. The team readily shares resources in peer supervision meetings that occur every fortnight, as well as contributing to our resource bank. 

In terms of tech resources, you will need to supply your own device in which to undertake therapy. We recommend that you have good quality headphones and microphone (either inbuilt or external). You also need high speed, reliable internet connection and the ability to make phone calls to Australian based clients.

As a contractor, what can I bill for? How does direct and indirect time work?

At Umbo, you can bill direct (client facing) time as well as indirect (non client facing but attributable to the client) time. The majority of our clients are NDIS clients, which means that indirect time can be billed toward the client’s plan in agreement with the client/their guardian.

Umbo recommends that to ensure high quality service provision, a ratio of at least 1 hour of direct time to 1 hour of indirect time is reasonable for most clients. In some instances a higher ratio of indirect time is necessary. As long as this can be justified and is outlined broadly in the client’s service agreement or discussed with them, then the clinician has Umbo’s support.

Some examples of indirect time that Umbo clinicians can charge to a client include preparation of the session, case notes, meetings/phone calls, goal setting and report and letter writing.

For private clients, indirect time depends on the client but is typically less.

Umbo also pays a rate of 80% of the clinical rate for meetings (which are optional), and 80% for late cancellations. We also pay superannuation to our contractors.

What level of professional and clinical supervision/support can I expect?

Professional supervision: During the first month, you will have a weekly phone call with the Clinical Services Manager. During the second month, a fortnightly call. At the end of the third month, a probation review occurs. After the probation period, you will have monthly calls with the Clinical Services Manager.

Clinical supervision: We will have someone sit in on your early sessions to ensure quality and feedback.
Ongoing, monthly paid 1:1 supervision is available for all clinicians. Peer supervision occurs once a month.
You will also have a buddy and the opportunity to observe sessions. The team collaborates regularly using tools such as Slack and calls through Google Meet.

Does it matter that I don’t have a great deal of experience in online therapy?

It doesn't matter that you don't have a huge level of experience with online therapy. What we do expect is for you to have the mindset that you want to learn, improve and be flexible. The fundamental skills required for successful online practice are strong clinical reasoning abilities and the ability to establish rapport with clients, their families, and key workers. These skills will be the foundation of your success in online therapy, and we are committed to providing you with the support and resources you need to develop them.

Do I ever see clients face to face?

Although Umbo is an entirely online service provider, there are rare instances where clients live in the same location as clinicians. Although we wouldn't enforce it, we would not stop you from doing a face to face consult, if appropriate, as aligned to our face-to-face policy. 

Do all of the clients live in rural communities?

Not all of Umbo’s clients live in rural communities, but as a social enterprise specifically focussed on helping rural communities with access to speech and occupational therapy, we want the majority of our clients to be from rural communities. As of June 2023, approximately 60% of our clients meet this criteria, although the number may fluctuate over time.

What kind of output do you expect from a contractor? 

Above all else, we are concerned about quality service delivery to clients. But of course, even though we are a social enterprise, we are a business with overheads and so we do need to generate revenue that enables us to pay clinicians, non-clinical team members and other expenses.

We expect 75% of a contractor’s time to be "billable," which means their time is being paid for by an external source of revenue. We consider this over a month since our clients have varying appointment frequencies, such as fortnightly or monthly. The remaining 25% of their time is expected to be internal time.