Customising NDIS Support Items

This article provides detailed information relating to the different pricing conditions for NDIS Support Items and how prices may be customised in SupportAbility where required.

Audience: Finance Team


Prerequisites

  • Staff must have the 'View Financial Information' Staff Account Privilege in order to:
    • Access the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record
    • Customise the Price in the NDIS Allocations window of an Activity
  • A comprehensive understanding of the following processes is recommended:
    • Adding an NDIS Direct Client Funding record
    • Allocating NDIS Support Items in Activities

Please see the related learning material linked at the end of this article for more information.


Summary

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


Pricing conditions

The NDIA is responsible for determining and publishing the pricing and rules for Support Items delivered under the NDIS, and SupportAbility relies on the official Support Catalogue CSV Price Guide data published by the NDIA for information regarding this:

As per the sample portion of the NDIS Support Catalogue above, you will note that it is comprised of Support Items with different pricing conditions:

  • Support Items with a Price Limit - the maximum price that Registered Providers can charge NDIS participants for this Support e.g 01_002_0107_1_1 (row 2)
    • Noting that providers may choose to charge a participant a price for these Supports that is less than the Price Limit (or over the Price Limit in exceptional circumstances). How to configure this is covered in more detail later in this article.
    • N.B. Prices may vary across the different States and/or in remote areas. SupportAbility does not support Remote or Very Remote pricing. 
  • Support Items that require a Quote - these items do not have a price limit and require providers to first submit a quote to the NDIS for approval e.g. Support: 01_003_0107_1_1 (row 4)
  • Support Items with no Price Limit - generally, those Supports utilised on an ad hoc and/or one-off basis where the Price is variable and hence a Price Limit is not applicable, and a Quote is not required e.g. Support: 01_049_0115_1_1 (row 29)

The pricing conditions of a Support Item determines the options available for customising the price and configuring this in SupportAbility. 

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Options available to manage NDIS Support Items that require a Quote or have No Price Limit

The 'Customise Price' feature is available by default in the NDIS Support Allocations window of an Activity in cases where the Support Item: 

  • requires a Quote
  • has no Price Limit i.e. no price is listed in the NDIS Support Catalogue for this Support

The following are examples of Support Categories which include Items where a Quote is required or have no Price Limit in the NDIS Support Catalogue: 

  • Assistance with Daily Life
  • Consumables
  • Assistive Technology
  • Home Modifications
  • Finding and keeping a job
  • Increased social and community participation
  • Improved relationships
  • Improved daily living skills

Several configuration options are available for Supports with these pricing conditions. How they are best suited to be configured is dependent on whether or not a level of flexibility is required with the applicable price, and your organisation's agreement in place with the participant to deliver these Supports. The available options to configure these Supports in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record are summarised as follows and explored in more detail below:

  • Maximum price flexibility - Flexible Category Budget or Support Item Budget 
    • When either of these options is used, the 'Customise Price' feature is available in the NDIS Support Allocation window of an Activity, allowing Staff Members with the relevant privileges to add the applicable price when the relevant Support Item is Allocated
    • This approach is appropriate when the Price of a Support is variable and changes frequently, thereby maximum flexibility is required to customise the Price based on service delivery (e.g. Activity Based Transport 04_590_0125_6_1)
  • Occasional price flexibility - Support Item with a Custom Price 
    • When the 'base' price of a Support is known, however, flexibility is occasionally required to customise the Price based on the nature of the service delivery (e.g. Innovative Community Participation 09_008_0116_6_3)
  • No price flexibility - Support Item with a 'Custom Price' and 'Fixed Price Allocation'
    • Useful for Supports requiring a Quote, where the approved Price can be set with no flexibility to customise it at the service delivery level (e.g. Personal Reader - Speech Output 05_223003279_0124_1_2)

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Maximum price flexibility

Where the Price of a Support with no Price Limit is likely to change frequently, the Support can be added to the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record by using either a Flexible Category Budget (if flexibility to use any of the Supports from this Category is required) e.g. Category 4:

Or, by adding the Support Item Budget specifically e.g: 

Once it is available in the Client's Funding record, Staff Members with the ‘View Financial Information’ privilege are then able to customise the Price of the Support e.g. 04_590_0125_6_1 Activity-Based Transport: 

As required in the 'NDIS Support Allocations' window of the Client's Activities by selecting the 'Customise Price' button:

Selecting the 'Customise Price' button allows the relevant value to be entered:

N.B. The above example of Activity Based Transport is a Support that requires Apportioning, hence the 'Customise Full Price' and 'Full $' Price label is appearing. The Price entered will be apportioned based on the portion selected so that only the relevant portion of the service delivery is charged. Please see the Apportioning the Price of the required Group Supports article linked below for more information. If a Support does not require apportioning, it will simply appear as an open field to enter the relevant Price. 

Selecting the 'Save NDIS Support Allocations' saves the Customised Price. 

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Occasional price flexibility

When an organisation wishes to configure a 'base' Price for a Support with no Price Limit but some flexibility is required to customise the Price in Activities where required, this Support can be added to the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record along with the base Price customised. The configured price is what will be used in the Client's NDIS Support Allocations in Activities where this Support is used.

For example, when adding Support Item 09_008_0116_6_3 Innovative Community Participation to the  Client's NDIS Direct Funding record, note that an Amber warning message saying 'No Price Limit' appears. The relevant base price can be entered in the Price field e.g. $45.00:

N.B. A Budget may or may not be required. If your organisation uses Flexible Category Budgets then it may not be necessary, however, if you wish to track the Utilisation of this Support separately, then a Budget can be added as required. 

When a Price has been entered, the Support Item is displayed in the Client’s NDIS Direct Funding record as follows with a 'Custom Price':

When Staff with the ‘View Financial Information’ privilege access the NDIS Support Allocations window in Activities, the customised Price appears as the default along with a blue 'Custom Price' notification indicating it has been customised. The 'Customise Price' button is also available so that Staff can customise the Price when required based on the situation: 

For example, to $35 if this was required: 

Noting that you can always select 'Standardise Price' to revert it back to the price as configured in the Client's Funding record i.e. $45. 

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No price flexibility

Sometimes, Supports such as a one-off quotable expense may require a 'fixed' Custom Price to be set for the approved price in cases where no flexibility is required to alter the price of the Support. 

Adding a Custom Price e.g. $250 then configuring the Support Item e.g. '05_223003279_0124_1_2 Personal Reader - Speech Output' with 'Fixed Price Allocation' in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record essentially locks the Price, preventing it from being customised in the NDIS Support Allocations window of individual Activities:

When the Support is configured with a 'Fixed price Allocation' a blue notification will display in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record to indicate this:

When configured in this way, this fixes the Custom Price so that the 'Customise Price' button no longer appears meaning the price cannot be altered in the NDIS Support Allocations window of individual Activities:

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Removing the Fixed Price Allocation

If circumstances change, and the Price for a Support becomes variable for instance, the 'Fixed price Allocation' setting can be removed from a Support in the Client's Direct Funding record, thereby, providing flexibility to customise the Price again in the NDIS Support Allocations window if required.

To remove this setting, navigate to the Client's Direct Funding record and open the contextual menu next to the relevant Support, then select 'Remove Fixed Price Allocation:  

Remember to select the 'Save Client Funding' button to apply and save any changes.

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Customising the Price of a Support Item with a Price Limit

When an NDIS Support Item has a Price Limit as specified in the NDIS Price Guide, but an organisation wishes to charge at a Price other than the Price Limit, then a Custom Price will need to be configured for this Support specifically in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record. This is because the Price cannot be customised for Supports with a Price Limit in the NDIS Support Allocations window of an Activity. 

An example of this may be when a provider wishes to charge under the Price Limit for a particular Support based on the agreement your organisation has in place with the participant. 

To customise the Price for a Support with a Price Limit, begin by adding the relevant NDIS Support Item to the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record e.g. 04_500_0104_1_1  Access Community Social And Rec Activities - Level 3 - Weekday Daytime, noting that the Price Limit as per the Initial Price Guide in use e.g. 2020/21 - December 1st Update, appears in the 'Price' field by default e.g. $66.54 (TTP): 

Enter the applicable price you wish to charge e.g. $65 in the 'Price' field: 

N.B. An amber notification message will display 'Custom price exceeds the price limit of this support' if a Price is entered that is over the Price Limit. This will not block this from being added, however, appears to alert the individual of this in case of error e.g: 

Once the Support Item has been added to the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record with a customised Price e.g. 04_500_0104_1_1 Access Community Social And Rec Activities - Level 3 - Weekday Daytime with a Custom Price of $65, it will appear as such in the Funding record: 

Notes can be added to document the reason for the Custom Price and may be useful for future reference. 

When the Support is allocated in an Activity, a notification is displayed advising the Price being charged is a 'Custom price': 

N.B. When a Custom Price has been entered, this overrides the Price Limit and in the case where the Price Limit increases over time, this does not impact a Custom Price and if this also needs to be adjusted, it will need to be done so manually. Some providers choose to use Client Funding Tags to keep track of Funding records including 'Custom Price' Supports as this can be used as a search criterion in the Client Funding Search for example. 

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Reverting a Custom Price to the Price Limit

If your organisation needs to revert a 'Custom Price' to the Price Limit in a Client's NDIS Direct Funding record, even if a Custom Price has been entered by mistake, open the contextual menu next to the relevant Support e.g. 07_002_0106_8_3 Level 2: Coordination Of Supports and select 'Change Price':

Then simply clear the 'custom price' which had been entered in the 'Price' field by deleting it. SupportAbility will automatically revert the Price to the Price Limit value. Select 'Change' to save the update:

N.B. If you were to enter the 'Price Limit' value in the 'Price' field SupportAbility would consider this as a Custom Price and an amber notification appears to alert you to this 'A Custom Price has been entered at the same value as the Price Limit. If a Custom Price is not required for this Support, the Price field should be cleared':

Once cleared the Price will no longer display as 'Custom Price' and will now display as 'Price Limit'. The Notes can also be updated to reflect the history of the customisation:

This means that the Support Item will now use the Price Limit of the latest Price Guide in the NDIS Support Allocations window of the Activity based on the Price Guide Transition settings. Please see the NDIS Price Guide Transition article linked below for more information regarding this. 

Remember to select the 'Save Client Funding' button to apply and save any changes.

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Does a Custom Price need to be added when a new Price Guide is available?

Staff Members do not need to go into each Client's Funding record and add a Custom Price manually when a new Price Guide is added. Transitioning to using a new or updated Price Guide, is controlled by how a Client's Price Guide Transition Settings in the Funding record are configured: 

The default state is that all Client Funding transitions to using the latest Price Guide in NDIS Support Allocations in Activities as soon as it is available in SupportAbility.

Staff may not be aware of the above Price Guide Transition setting and there may be some confusion regarding the prices that are displayed in the Client's NDIS Funding record if Support Item Budgets have been added. For example, the Support Item 01_011_0107_1_1 has been added and the 'Price (as at 08/07/2020)' of $57.56 per hour is displayed in the Funding record, as this was the applicable Price at the start of the Funding Period:

The price displayed (as per the above screen shot) is based on the Initial Price Guide in use e.g. '2020/21 - July 1st' Price Guide, as it was the most current price at the time the Funding record was created:

However, there has since been another Price Guide update i.e. the '2020/21 December 1st Update'. Given the Price Guide Transition setting is set to 'As soon as available' (as per the example above), this means that  regardless of the price displayed in the Funding record, the latest Price Guide and Price is used in the Client's NDIS Support Allocations in Activities:

However, if Staff Members have unknowingly overwritten the Price, this will have set a 'Custom Price' in the Funding record e.g:

A 'Custom Price' always overwrites the Price Guide Transition settings, so it means next time there's a Price Guide update, the Client will be charged at the Custom Price instead of organically transitioning to the new pricing. If this is the case, to rectify this, they will need to go into the Funding record, select the icon with the three dots to the right-hand side of each Support Item with a Custom Price and select 'Change Price':

Remove the Custom Price entered:

Once removed, it should appear with the original Price Limit displayed (remembering this can be disregarded) and select 'Change':

Noting the 'Custom Price' has been removed:

This means the latest Price Guide will be used in the Client's NDIS Support Allocations and the correct Price will be charged, provided your organisation wishes to charge at the latest Price Limit. 

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How can we charge at the Price Limit as per the Initial Price Guide in use?

The default setting of all Price Guide Transitions is 'As soon as available' meaning the Price that is used in the NDIS Support Allocations in an Activity (relative to the date of the Activity) is often different to what is displayed in the Client's Funding record depending on the proximity from the Funding Start Date, and thus the Price may vary from the original Price in the Service Agreement.

Many providers are now ensuring clauses are added to Service Agreements, to provide greater flexibility to changing prices to align with NDIS Price Guide updates. However, if an organisation needed to lock in a Price from a previous Price Guide, the Support Item will need to be added to the Client's Funding record and a Custom Price configured. 

For example, Support Item  01_004_0107_1_1 was added to the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record at the time of creation, and the Price Limit ($50.03) displayed was relative to the Price Guide in use at the time (as at 02/12/2019):

The Initial Price Guide  i.e. 2019/20 - December 1st Update, was current at the time the Funding record was first created e.g. 02/12/2019:

The Price Guide referenced in the NDIS Support Allocations window in Activities, however, is determined by the date of the Activity and how the 'Price Guide Transition' settings in the Client's Funding record are configured, e.g. 2019/20 - April 30th Update - As soon as available:

For instance, an Activity dated 04/05/2020 uses the '2019/20 - April 30th Update' Price Guide where the applicable Price for this Support is now $55.03:

If your organisation needs to charge at the Price Limit set in the Initial Price Guide relative to the Service Agreement you have in place with a Client e.g. $50.03, then the Price will need to be customised for this Support in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record.

In the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record open the contextual menu and select 'Change Price':

Even though the Price Limit of the Initial Price Guide is already displayed in the Price field you will notice that is grey. You will need to enter the Price again in order for this to be saved as a Custom Price which will override the updated Price Limit. Once entered it will display in black text. Select 'Change' to apply the update:

N.B. The amber notification message can be ignored here as it is just attempting to alert you to the fact that the Price is the same as the Price Limit in case this was not intentional, but in this case, creating a Custom Price for this rate is intentional. 

The Price for this Support will now display as a 'Custom Price' in the Client's NDIS Direct Funding record, rather than 'Price Limit' as previously:

The Price displayed for this Support in the NDIS Support Allocations window of an Activity will now use the 'Custom Price', regardless of the Price Guide in use:

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Searching for Support Items with a Custom Price

SupportAbility provides a couple of different Search Reports which enable an organisation to identify NDIS Direct Client Funding records that contain Support Items with a Custom Price and to track where these Supports have been allocated in Activities.

Client Funding Search

The Client Funding Search can be utilised to search for NDIS Direct Client Funding records that contain any Support Items listed with a configured Custom Price. 

N.B. Staff must have the 'View Financial Information' Staff Account privilege to run this report. The results listed are based on the Client records the Staff member has access to. 

The Client Funding Search is accessed via the Reports menu and filterable by a range of search criteria:

Selecting the option 'One or more' in the 'Custom Price' filter:

will return a list of Client Funding records that contain one or more Support Items with a Custom Price:

We recommend right-mouse clicking each of the target icons in the results list and selecting 'Open Link in New Tab' so each of these can be reviewed separately, while still retaining the results list for reference:

As per the example below, we can see that Bradley Hitchcock's NDIS Direct Client Funding record contains a couple of Support Items with a Custom Price as follows:

  • Access Community Social And Rec Activities - Level 3 - Weekday Daytime, 04_500_0104_1_1
  • Personal Reader - Speech Output,  05_223003279_0124_1_2

More information about this Search feature is outlined in the Client Funding Search article linked below.

Allocations Report

The Allocations Report, accessible via the Finance menu, can be filtered by a range of search criteria including individual Clients and specific Support Items and is a useful tool for identifying where specific Supports have been allocated:

N.B. In order to generate this report, the ‘View Financial Information’ Staff Account privilege is required, in combination with either:

  • the ‘Edit Client Records Across ALL Services’ privilege, or
  • the ‘Team Leader for ALL Services’ privilege. 

It also provides reporting on the financial processing status of Allocations. Specifically for Allocations associated with Agency Managed Supports by being able to search for Allocations that are Accepted or those that are Rejected and the accompanying processing status i.e. Pending Action, Marked for Retry, Marked for Cancellation, processed as Cancelled or in a state of Retry. Or for Allocations that are associated with alternative Financial Plan Managers i.e. Clients, Client Contacts or FPM Contacts as required and by Invoicing Status. p

More information is outlined in the  Allocations Report article linked below.

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