Understanding NDIS Short Notice Cancellations

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Understanding NDIS Short Notice Cancellations

12 August 2022

In a perfect world, no one would have to cancel an appointment at the last minute. But as we know, life can sometimes be unpredictable. We get sick, our little ones get sick, the car won’t start, or we might even completely forget to attend an appointment. Life happens and cancelling an appointment at the last minute may be the only option.

But what does this mean? Do service providers still have the right to charge for cancellations and no shows?

Fortunately, the NDIS provides clear guidance so both participants and service providers clearly understand their rights and obligations. Read on as we break down the most recent version of the NDIS cancellation policy along with tips and tricks that may protect your NDIS funding and avoid unnecessary short notice cancellation charges.

Short Notice Cancellation Verses Standard Cancellation

The NDIS cancellation policy distinguishes between a Standard Cancellation and a Short Notice cancellation.

When a cancellation is considered Short Notice, and certain other conditions are met, a Service Provider can claim 100% of the agreed fee for the support.

In the case of a Standard Cancellation (ie not considered Short Notice), a Service Provider cannot claim any fees or charges. So, it is important to understand the difference. Determining whether you can claim for a cancelled support comes down to two questions: Is it short notice? Does it meet the required conditions?

What is a Short Notice Cancellation?

A cancellation is short notice when the participant either gives less than seven (7) clear days’ notice or does not attend the support within a reasonable time.

If the cancellation is deemed Short Notice, the Service Provider may have the right to charge 100% of the agreed fee for the support.

For example, if the participant arrived for their support 45 minutes late, you could consider it a short notice cancellation. Similarly, if they had a support scheduled for Thursday at 10am, and they gave notice the week before at 4pm on Thursday, it would be short notice.

Does it meet the required conditions?

Not all Short Notice Cancellations are billable. According to the NDIA, it must meet certain criteria.

  • The NDIS Pricing Arrangements and Price Limits guide must expressly state that short notice cancellation is permissible. The support item must be eligible for claiming for short notice cancellations, and the charges also must comply with the pricing limits.
  • The service agreement between the participant and provider states that short notice cancellations are claimable.
  • The provider was not able to find alternative billable work for the relevant worker and are required to pay the worker for the time that would have been spent providing the support.
  • Short notice cancellations also apply to group supports where the provider was unable to find a replacement participant. In this case, the provider would charge all participants, both those who cancelled and those who attended, the planned rate.

Why does a Short Notice Cancellation Policy exist?

Protecting the providers income is the main reason this cancellation policy exists. Last minute cancellations are, well, last minute – making it difficult to schedule jobs to fill the gaps they leave in the day. This means a lost opportunity for work, which all field service businesses want to avoid.

Is there a limit to the number of times a Provider can charge Short Notice Cancellation?

There is no hard limit on the number of short notice cancellations (or no shows) for which a provider can claim in respect of a participant. However, providers have a duty of care to their participants and if a participant has an unusual number of cancellations, then the provider should seek to understand why they are occurring.

The NDIA will monitor claims for cancellations and may contact providers who have a participant with an unusual number of cancellations.

Short Notice Cancellation – changes effective 1 July 2022

You would be correct in thinking that there has been a recent change to Short Notice Cancellation guidelines.

Previously, cancellations for service appointments were considered ‘short notice’ when participants gave less than two (2) full days’ notice to the provider. This extended to seven (7) days from 1 July 2022.

Tips and tricks to avoid being charged

If you are a participant:

  • You will want to give more than seven days’ notice when cancelling service appointments to avoid unnecessary fees being charged to your funds.
  • You can ask the provider if you will be charged when cancelling an appointment. They may provide exceptions in some extenuating cases.
  • You’ll need to be particularly careful in the case of high cost supports such as short-term accommodation and respite to avoid unnecessary charges having a significant impact to your budget.
  • Check any service agreements you currently have in place with your service providers. In the absence of a service agreement, you may be exempt from having to pay the short notice cancellation fees.
  • When engaging with a provider for the first time, perhaps you can negotiate more lenient conditions with respect to Short Notice Cancellations. It is important to note that a provider may not be flexible with respect to their short notice cancellation policy, as they are acting within the recommended guidelines.

My Plan Assist and Short Notice Cancellations

My Plan Assist is a registered NDIS provider for plan management services, and very knowledgeable in the area of NDIS support. Located on the Gold Coast and assisting participants Australia wide, the team work one-on-one with clients to help them navigate the NDIS and manage their funding to maximise value and potential.

As part of their internal procedures, My Plan Assist will always reach out to their clients for payment approval prior to paying a short notice cancellation fee. This is to keep clients fully informed and ensure the provider has not made an error.

If you are seeking advice or further information about My Plan Assist Plan Management, please reach out directly to their friendly team by email info@myplanassist.com.au or phone (07) 5641 2277.