Exercise Physiology deserves NDIS Parity and Support

Exercise & Sports Science Australia (ESSA) has today reiterated calls for greater parity for exercise physiologists under the NDIS to help better support those living with disability.

“There are a number of concerns we have for our accredited professionals who, as an allied health profession, will not be able to achieve optimal workforce growth within the NDIS market if underlying issues relating to financial viability are not addressed,” says Joanne Webb, ESSA Policy and Advocacy Manager.

“Currently people with a disability are 1.7 times as likely to be obese as those without disability, and 3.3 times as likely to have three or more long-term health conditions as those without disability (74% versus 23%).”

“Accredited Exercise Physiologists (AEPs) play a unique role in that they provide clinical exercise interventions to support a range of physical, mental and psychosocial benefits and can assist participants under the NDIS to realise their goals and aspirations through evidence based individualised exercise programs,” explains Ms. Webb.

Current state of play for Accredited Exercise Physiologists:
  • Exercise physiology services delivered under the NDIS are required to pay GST. This presents additional financial and administrative disadvantages for AEP practitioners and practices.
  • The current NDIA price limit for individual exercise physiology services delivered in a non-remote location is $166.99/hour (GST inclusive). Other allied health professionals receive a price limit of $193.99/hour.
  • There are significant differences not recognised in the current NDIS pricing structure in the cost of delivering services in outer regional areas. This impacts the sustainability of exercise physiology services in outer regional areas.
  • It is becoming increasingly difficult for exercise physiologists to recover costs from plan managed participants. Plan mangers frequently report that participants do not have the funds required for the payment of invoices. These circumstances arise even in cases where exercise physiologists have contacted the plan managers and checked the availability of funds prior to delivering supports. This practice leaves exercise physiologists out of pocket and poses a significant risk to the financial viability of the NDIS therapy market.
  • The auditing costs associated with registration under the NDIS commission are not sustainable for private providers or small practices. AEPs are reporting that they have been quoted up to $6,000 for auditing fees, with many suggesting that these costs are not financially viable given the small number of NDIS participants they service.

“The power of expertly prescribed exercise is immeasurable. Exercise programs developed by AEPs for NDIS participants empower and support them to achieve goals in the areas of daily living, social inclusion and functional well-being.”

“We will continue to fight for a more level playing field for our members and those Australians living with a disability,” says Ms. Webb.

ESSA’s long-term advocacy strategy has targeted government at all levels, as well as industry stakeholders and community groups to collaborate and build an active nation where all Australians are supported to be and stay active.

We have continued to lobby the government for better support and access to exercise services and programs to facilitate more Australians in getting and staying active. ESSA created the ESSA for an Active Nation campaign to champion this call for action.

“The main goal of the campaign is to promote Access, Fairness and Quality in the development of health and aged care policies on exercise services provided by accredited exercise physiologists and exercise scientists. For more information, visit www.activenation.com.au.”