Complex Home Modifications FAQs
FAQs: Complex Home Modification (CHM) Assessor Competency and Assistive Technology Delays
(Last Updated: 6/12/2017)
We have had a number of enquiries from our members about CHM assessor competencies and delays with approvals of AT applications. We have consulted with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and they have reviewed our advice below.
Q1: The FAQ about Home Modifications Document (24 February 2017) lists five examples of what the NDIA consider to be suitable competencies for an OT to be able to support participants with Complex Home Modifications.
- Professional Credential: Associate Member or above of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA)
- Successful completion of Nationally Recognised Training modulesCPPACC4020A and CPPACC5016A
- Accreditation by a State Supply Scheme at the top level (e.g. Red accreditation in home modifications with SWEP, Victoria)
- Employment at Senior Clinician level specifically responsible for CHM assessment
- NDIS Registered Providers who successfully completed NDIA authorised training in, and were selected through an Expression of Interest process for CHM assessment during the trial phase of the NDIS prior to 30 June 2016
Ideally yes, but the self-assessment is not limited to only the above criteria. The NDIA have provided the 5 examples as guidance about what characteristics a CHM assessor should demonstrate. You do not necessarily need to meet any of the 5 listed examples. When you complete the CHM assessment template, you will sign (certify) to indicate that you have read and will comply with relevant documents and operational guidelines and that you satisfy the requirements of the NDIA’s guidance that an assessor of CHM supports should meet.
If the NDIA requests information as part of any review, you will need to provide evidence that you are suitably qualified. As with all work that you complete for NDIS participants, it is important that you are able to assess your boundaries to practice and to refer on when the work is out of your area of practice. There can be serious consequences when you practice outside your competence.
No – similarly to the above answer, it is your responsibility to make the decision as to whether you are suitably qualified to support a participant with a CHM on a case by case basis.
The NDIA advise that they are currently reviewing the processes around Home Modifications and any changes will be made available on the NDIS website.
Q5: Is the NDIA aware that there is currently a lengthy wait time for Assistive Technology (AT) applications to be approved?
NDIA acknowledge there have been problems reviewing and, where appropriate, approving assessment and associated quotes for AT and home mods (HM). There are a number of projects now underway to address delays for participants accessing their AT, including issues related to quote approval. A dedicated team are focusing on requests for AT and HM already received and are gathering the information needed to work towards finalising and implementing the reasonable and necessary decisions.
The NDIA has recently released details of a new NDIS ‘pathway’ designed to significantly improve the experience people and organisations have with the ground-breaking NDIS. This includes specific aspects of AT provision. The new pathway will be progressively piloted and tested over the coming months before being rolled out nationally.
Q6: Is there a period of time that we can advise participants that it is likely that they will receive a funding decision on AT applications?
As per above.
Q7: Is there a process that can be used to expedite an AT application where necessary e.g. where the participant is at risk?
Yes, we make the following suggestion:
- In the event that the participant contacts you to enquire about a lodged AT application, the participant, or a support person on their behalf, should first be encouraged to contact their local NDIA office with an enquiry.
- Participants can engage their Support Coordinator (if they have one) to make an enquiry on their behalf.
- Participants may also contact NDIA Feedback and Complaints team, via the NDIS website.
Q8: Can the Occupational Therapist act on behalf of the participant to escalate an outcome with regard to an AT application?
If the participant is able to manage the enquiry themselves, this is preferable due to the capacity building nature of the Scheme. In the event of the participant requesting you to act on their behalf, you will need to have written approval from the participant. Some members have indicated that when they initially engage with a participant, they request the participant to sign a Privacy Consent form that includes the OT service or organisation contacting the NDIA.
Home modification recommendations to NDIA must comply with the Australian legislative and regulatory framework for building, such as the National Construction Code incorporating the Building Code of Australia (Council of Australian Government, 2019). The Code can be downloaded by free by registering on the ABCB website. Compliance with AS 1428.1 – 2009 (Design for access and mobility) is not required for all classes of buildings under the BCA, in particular not for Class 1a buildings (houses). Consequently, the NDIA does not require compliance with AS 1428.1 – 2009 for domestic settings, but advises that it is a valuable reference for assessors and designers.
You can visit the NDIA Operational Guideline on Including specific supports in Plan - Home Modifications for more information.