SupportAbility Roadmap

In the interest of providing greater transparency regarding planned enhancements and new features, details of the current SupportAbility Roadmap are updated here for the benefit of our subscriber base.  

The roadmap lists the key changes we plan to make to SupportAbility over the next 6 months. It is not designed to be a complete or final list. Instead, it is focussed on providing information regarding upcoming changes that will affect the way our subscribers use the product for the purpose of forward-planning. 

For further details on the process that SupportAbility utilises to determine this roadmap, please view our knowledge base article  The Roadmap Process at SupportAbility

Audience: All


Summary

The following list summarises the content within this article. Click on the links below to take you to the relevant sections:

IMPORTANT NOTE: ALL ITEMS ON THE ROADMAP ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE


6 Month Roadmap

Programs of Support

Following the inclusion of the new 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide into SupportAbility, we are currently working on a solution to assist providers to deliver & manage 'Programs of Support'. 

This feature will be configurable by Service with the following options available: 

  • On by default
  • Off by default
  • Never

With 'Never' being the default, given Programs of Support are only applicable for specific Services i.e. '...group-based supports in the Assistance with Social, Economic and Community Participation Support Category, including Supports in Employment, or any of the Capacity Building Support Categories.' (p 23 of the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide).

When this has been configured to 'On by default' or 'Off by default' for the relevant Services in System Preferences, a new setting will become available for each Client row in the Activities for this Service, allowing Staff with the privileges required to manage Activities to indicate if the Client's participation is related to a 'Program of Support'.

When indicated as such, this will ensure that the Cancellation Reason and Claim Type is not triggered for the Support Items applicable for the Client. A new handshake icon will appear in various places to indicate the Client's participation is related to a Program of Support, as well as new Search Criterion to select from various searches and reports e.g. in the Client's Activities tab and the Activity Client Report. 

Given the NDIA has advised that Programs of Support can '...only be offered if the duration of the program is no longer than 12 weeks...' (p23), providers may wish to create separate sets of Activities for these Programs for a period of 12 weeks in order to track and manage this effectively. If additional Program of Support Activity sets are required following this, the Replicate Activity feature can be utilised to achieve this. 

Further details will be included in a dedicated Knowledge Base article to this new functionality in due course.  

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Price Guide Transition switch allowing Support Items from the old Price Guide to be utilised in new Funding records

A setting in the Price Guide Transition tab of the NDIS Direct Client Funding record is being developed for all Funding records that commence on or after the 1st of July, 2020, to allow providers to specify that Support Items from the previous Price Guide period are required to be added to the Funding record. 

This is important for providers that have active Service Bookings that commence on or after the 1st of July, 2020, including Support Items that no longer exist in the new Price Guide e.g. SIL. 

Activating this setting will make available any Support Items from the previous 2019/20 Price Guide (and subsequent Price Guide Updates) that have not been included in the new Price Guide to be added to the Client Funding record.  

However, this solution is not as easy as it sounds to develop and complete thorough test analysis for and require a significant amount of engineering resources to deliver.  As a result, this feature will take between 4 - 8 weeks to develop and release.

Please review the following article for more information outlining the current issues faced when Supports required to be claimed/Invoiced have not been included in the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, the solution being developed in order to address this, as well as a suggested workaround to continue to utilise these Supports in the interim: 


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SupportAbility v7.0: Additional Improvements for Agency Managed Supports

Over the past 9 months, we've been working on one of our biggest projects to date; to improve the quality & accuracy of the data included in and produced by SupportAbility for Agency Managed Supports by handling claim rejections. This project aims to also improve the accuracy of Client Funding Statements & Utilisation data whilst making the accounts receivable reconciliation process for Agency Managed Supports simpler and more efficient.

We have now successfully laid the foundations necessary for us over a series of releases to deliver SupportAbility v7.0 which is where providers will see the most benefits in this project journey to date. 

Expected release date: late September 2020

SupportAbility v7.0: Processing myplace provider portal rejections

SupportAbility v7.0 introduces the ability to import the Bulk Payment Results File (BPRF) from the portal, manage Rejected claims in SupportAbility and only include Accepted Allocations in Direct Invoice Batches for NDIA Invoices aiming to simplify finance reconciliation. 

SupportAbility’s first import feature has been developed in order to align the status of each Allocation included in the BPR with the results available for download from the myplace provider portal.

By uploading this Bulk Payment Results File, otherwise known as the BPRF, into SupportAbility the Claim Status of each Allocation will be updated automatically and represented visually, based on this information:

  • Successful claims will be updated to Accepted, along with the exact claim value being paid
  • Any claims that have resulted in an error will appear as Rejected, along with the reason for this, and
  • Any differences between what was submitted in the BPR and what is included in the BPRF will be highlighted for reference. 

Two options will be available to manage any Rejected Allocations: ‘Retry’ and ‘Cancel’. Depending on how you wish to handle each Rejected Allocation will determine which action is best suited.

  1. Retry
    If the Rejection occurred due to an issue with a Service Booking having not yet been established, for example, using the ‘Retry’ action may be best suited. This Allocation would be marked for Retry and following the Service Booking being created in the portal this Retry Action can then be processed when ready. Processing this Retry Action will make the Allocation available for inclusion in the next BPR.
  2. Cancel
    When all options for claiming have been exhausted for a Rejected Allocation, the Cancel action may be utilised to cancel out this Support altogether. Cancelled Supports no longer appear as available for inclusion in a BPR and will not be included in Funding Utilisation information or Client Funding statements.

From the upgrade to version 7, only Accepted Allocations are included in the NDIA Invoices generated in a Direct Invoice Batch from the BPR. This means that Invoices for successful claims at the correct value are generated.

In addition, providers will have the ability to configure the preferred invoice format for NDIA Invoices. By default, the invoice format will be ‘Separated’ per Client, or Client Funding record, as is the current functionality. 

However, a new option will be available to use a ‘Combined’ invoice format. Choosing this option will create a single NDIA Invoice to mimic the RCTI created by the Agency. It is important to note that this option will only be suitable for finance systems with the capacity to utilise this.

Regardless of the chosen Invoice Format, the fact that only Accepted Allocations are included in these Invoices ensures accuracy between SupportAbility, the myplace provider portal and your organisation’s finance system. Aiming to greatly simplify the reconciliation process for Agency Managed Supports.

After SupportAbility v7.0: Adjusting myplace provider portal rejections

The final component of this project introduces a third Rejection Action option, allowing providers to made adjustments to any Payment Request Item errors rejected by the portal. This facility first Cancels the original rejected NDIS Support Allocation and then allows providers to re-allocate the correct Supports, with the correct quantity, at the correct Price, so that these adjustments can then be included in subsequent BPR's for claiming successfully.

We will be keeping this article and the Enhancements to Direct Bulk Payment Requests (BPRs) article updated with more information regarding this in due course. 

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Participant Transport and Provider Travel

The recent inclusion of Activity Based Transport Costs, as well as the new Provider Travel Non-Labour Costs, has introduced the ability for providers to charge for ancillary costs such as kilometres, parking, road tolls, public transport costs, etc. Given each Activity may be comprised of multiple charges of this nature, providers require the ability to Allocate these Supports multiple times for each Client in an Activity which is not currently possible. 

Further to these Supports being able to be Allocated more than once, this development item will include: 
  • Badges displayed in the Activity record to indicate when these Supports are in use.
  • The ability to choose the type of cost from a configurable list (e.g. road toll) which will be included in the Client Funding Statement and on Invoices
  • The '+ All Kms' button to include any kilometres entered in the Staff section of the Activity in Quantity field of the Allocation

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Fractions of Price for Group Supports

For various Supports throughout the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide, it is stipulated that 'If a support item is delivered to a group of participants then the price limit for each participant is the price limit set out in the table below divided by the number of participants in the group. Providers should make a claim for each participant using the relevant support item. Each claim should be for the total time of the support but is subject to the lower price limit as set out above' (p58 for reference). 

Supports that use this new Fractions of Price model are:

  • Group and Centre Based Activities (Standard & High Intensity) p58 
    • N.B. This is only applicable when the 'new' Group Services approach is in use
  • Supported Employment (with the exception of the 04_891_0133_5_1_D transitional Support Item) p60/1 and p86
  • Development of Daily Living and Life Skills (09_009_0117_6_3) p81
  • Workplace assistance (10_016_0102_5_3) p84
  • Physical Wellbeing Activities (12_027_0126_3_3, 12_027_0128_3_3, 12_029_0126_3_3) p90 
  • Dietetics (12_025_0128_3_3) p91 
  • Transition through school and to further education (13_030_0102_4_3) p92 
  • Early Childhood Intervention Supports (under 7 years) p94 
  • Therapy Supports (over 7 years) p95 

Given that providers needed a way to be able to charge for a fraction of the price of these Supports, following the upgrade to v6.19, providers have been allowed to Customise the Price of these Supports in the NDIS Support Allocation window of the Activities they're allocated to, in order to ensure the applicable fraction of the price is charged. 

A solution is being designed which will allow providers to select the relevant Group Support ratio for each participant from a new field in the NDIS Support Allocations window. SupportAbility will then use this to calculate the apportioned price by dividing the Price of the Support Item by the ratio selected. Badges will continue to be displayed in the Activity record to indicate when specific ratios have been selected. This information is intended to be included in the Client Funding Statement and on Invoices. 

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The New Approach for Group Supports

The 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide introduces a new approach for Group Supports which involves: 
  • Charging the relevant apportioned Price for the Services received e.g. 3 hrs x $19.19 ($57.56 / 3)
  • Individually charging for Non-Face-To-Face Support Provision
  • Charging a separate Centre Capital Cost (where relevant)
  • The option to utilise 'Programs of Support'
Providers have up until the 30th of June, 2021, to transition to this new approach and may continue to use the 'transitional' ratio approach to Group Supports in the interim. 
On page 62, the Price Guide states that ' A provider must use the same approach (transitional or new) for all the group and centre based supports that they deliver. Once a provider commences to use the new pricing arrangements they may no longer use the transitional pricing arrangements'. Due to this, the new Supports have been temporarily omitted from the Price Guide in SupportAbility to ensure that these are not inadvertently claimed by mistake. 
We are in the process of designing a setting in System Preferences (similar to TTP), where providers can choose to transition to this new approach when ready. Once activated, the Supports associated with the new approach will become available, and the transitional ratio Supports will no longer be available. 

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Results of the recent development prioritisation poll (July 2020)

Our mission here at SupportAbility is to help providers meet the challenges of delivering under the NDIS.  We strive to constantly enhance our product to meet the ever-changing nature of the scheme.

For the last several months we have been working on SupportAbility v7 which is designed to improve the accuracy and efficiency of working with Agency-Managed Supports. As we came close to wrapping up SupportAbility v7, the 2020/21 NDIS Price Guide was released which is in many ways, the most challenging Price Guide the Agency has released in the past 7 years.  Not only does this Price Guide affect the efficiency and viability of many services, but it also requires significant Engineering responses to implement its vast array of changes.

Whilst we plan to implement each of the core changes introduced by the new Price Guide, we wanted to involve our subscribers in the prioritisation of these development tasks to ensure that they were delivered in an order that benefits the most providers.  It was for this reason that in late July, we sent out our first-ever roadmap poll to our subscribers, asking them to vote on the features that mattered most to their organisation, and also which items mattered least. A total of 24 votes from our subscribers was received and we commenced the work of analysing these results. 

We are pleased to share these results with you all:

Based on this we can confirm that we will be addressing and releasing these items in the following order:

  • Improvements to Agency Managed Supports (SupportAbility v7)
  • Participant Transport and Provider travel
  • Fractions of Price for Group Supports
  • The New Approach for Group Supports

The roadmap outlined above has now been updated and ordered as such. We would like to thank all providers that participated in this poll and helped us understand the most important items for their organisation. We appreciate that not everyone will be happy with these results, as every organisation has different needs and priorities. However, we undertook this process in the interests of fairness and transparency to ensure that all providers had a voice in the process. For all of those who provided additional feedback, we will be reviewing this as soon as possible and getting back to you individually regarding this in the coming weeks. 

We continue to work hard to ensure that SupportAbility is the best solution for NDIS service providers and is responsive to the ever-changing demands of the scheme. We look forward to delivering each of these features as soon as we possibly can to help you, our subscribers, deliver quality NDIS services and claim for those services in an accurate and efficient manner.

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