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August/September 2018 Board Report

Friday 07, Sep 2018

Board Nominations

This September, the ARATA Board are calling for nominations to the Board prior to our November AGM. Following a skills gaps analysis at the recent strategic planning weekend; the Board seek to appoint up to five members with skills in the following: marketing and communications, government relations, policy and accounting and finances. We are also seeking people with an interest in assistive technology. If you are interested in receiving an information pack please contact us at membership@arata.org.au

ARATA submission

Emma Friesen, David Harraway and Valerie Watchorn are working on a submissions to The Australian Human Rights Commission questions in the Human Rights and Technology Issues Paper.
Andrew Congdon, in conjunction with input from the ARATA membership, is working on an ARATA submission to the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme

NDIS Pricing

KPMG have contacted ARATA as part of a focal piece of work on assistive technology and home modifications pricing. Our response included the following points: 

  • The sector have repeatedly called for support to ascertain accurate pricing to enable informed decision making by assistive technology (AT) users and AT prescribers and practitioners.
  • Pricing which is uncontextualized is insufficient: an extensive evidence base regarding AT usage demonstrates that tailored AT solutions are required to maximise outcomes and to ensure efficient spending. Therefore costs for base units, accessories, options and adaptations must all be considered, as well as the ‘soft technology’ costs of identifying, trialling, fitting, adjusting, training and collaborative signoff for safe and effective use. 
  • A mechanism exists to capture these costs. The National Equipment Database (www.askned.com.au) is the largest national government funded provider of impartial advice on assistive technology products and services in Australia. Information is mediated by health practitioners who provide advice and education as to person-technology fit, in the form of annotated descriptions of products based upon the internationally recognised classification system . AT Practitioners and AT users currently utilise National Equipment Database to canvass market options and determine a shortlist of relevant products and suppliers. Currently, , users must contact suppliers directly to obtain current prices. Pricing capability with in NED is evolving and recent enhancements have enabled price information provided by Suppliers to be uploaded directly into NED. ILCWA as the lead agency for NED are embarking on the development of a Supplier engagement to provide pricing for NED. Recent successful NDIA Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Funding for NED will allow a project to continue to explore the needs for NED from a AT end user and supplier perspective. 
  • The assistive technology sector is under substantial stress given some of the unintended consequences of recent policy reform. The work of many senior AT practitioners in ‘practice governance’, and leading quality projects is curtailed. This is due in part to the closure of block funded services such as ADHC NSW, which held sufficient ‘critical mass’ of practitioner knowledge to, for example, develop and maintain practice guidelines. The closure of a number of AT suppliers in specialised areas has a direct impact on the capacity of leading AT practitioners to respond to sector development needs, such as completing a credentialing tool to assist AT users to select appropriate practitioners. 

We hope this assists in providing a snapshot of current pricing issues, and a way forward to resolve these which is desirable to the sector