We have anticipated the launch of the NDIA’s new computer system PACE for some time now. Since its nationwide launch on 30 October, there has been more information filtering through; you may already have been introduced as a user. It’s much easier to work with change when you understand it and we’re going to explain what we know so far. We will keep you updated as we learn more and gain practical experience.
With the new information we have about PACE, this article dives deeper into what PACE is, how it will roll out, what participants and support workers need to do and answer a whole lot of questions we didn’t have the information about until now.
What is PACE anyway?
The NDIA is introducing PACE to upgrade from their older system, with the goal of improving the NDIS experience for participants and providers and deliver the best possible support to them, their families and carers.
It includes a new computer system and provider portal. The systems have been designed to be more user friendly and easier for NDIS staff to use. Many aspects of the system and provider portal relate to providers, while some also affect NDIS participants.
When will PACE start?
The new system has been tested in Tasmania and began national rollout from 30 October 2023. A complete roll out of the system will take up to 18 months.
What do I need to do?
Your NDIS plan will be moved over to the new system at the time of your next plan reassessment meaning no action is required from you now.
If you’re an existing participant, all new, varied, reset, renewed and reassessed plans from 30 October will be moved to the new PACE system. If you have an existing plan, a scheduled plan reassessment and don’t require any changes, you will not transition to PACE until your next scheduled reassessment or if a change is needed earlier.
If you’re a new participant and join after 30 October, you will be set up using the PACE system. The NDIS will communicate with you and our team will support and guide you when you’re all set up.
What PACE won’t change
There are some aspects that won’t change with the upgrade to PACE including:
- Your supports will not change, although there may be changes to some names
- The fundamental structure of your NDIS plan
- Item support numbers
- The NDIS Act
- The registration process for providers
- NDIS Commission obligations including Practice Standards
- How the NDIS makes decisions about funding – “reasonable and necessary” still applies
- What the NDIS can fund
- NDIS eligibility criteria
- Your NDIS plan will continue to be based on your individual needs.
What will PACE change?
The key changes coming with PACE include some updates to the support types and categories and to how the NDIA interacts with participants throughout their plan journey. These changes only apply once you have moved onto the PACE system.
Changes to NDIS support categories
When you transition to PACE, you will notice some changes to support categories. While most support categories remain the same, there are some new supports and names have changed for others.
Under Core supports, there is one new support category:
- Home and living
Under Capital supports, there are two new support categories:
- Assistive Technology, maintenance, repair and replacement
- Specialised Disability Accommodation (SDA)
Under Capacity Building, there is one new category and several category names are changing:
- New support category: Behaviour supports
- Support coordination is renamed to Support coordination and psychosocial recovery coach
- Improved relationships is renamed to Relationships
- Improved health and wellbeing is renamed to Health and wellbeing
- Improved learning is renamed to Lifelong learning
- Improved life choices is renamed to Choice and control.
There is also a new support type called Recurring which is where you can fund recurring transport funding.
The new support categories are all stated supports which is funding in your NDIS plan allocated for a specific support or service. The funding cannot be used for any item other what is one specified.
What are the changes to Plan Management service agreements?
Old process: As you know, we have a service agreement with you that explains our responsibilities and commitment to you as your plan manager.
New PACE process: Under the new system, while you will still have an agreement with us, you will also need to ‘endorse’ service providers via the NDIA, including plan management and support coordination providers.
There are only two occasions you will need to complete this process:
- When a participant signs up to plan management and support coordination (one endorsement for each).
- When a participant starts a new plan, they will need to confirm they want to continue using their plan manager’s services and endorse them again.
New NDIA changes with PACE
- New annual ‘Participant Check-ins’, where the NDIA will contact you to see how your plan is going and make sure you’re happy with it.
- You will only need to attend a plan meeting if your new plan is different from your current plan.
- There are new optional plan implementation meetings designed to help you get your plan started and ensure it’s working as intended. These meetings are optional.
Changes to Plan Reassessments
About four months before your plan reaches its reassessment date, your NDIS contact (Local Area Coordinator/Early Childhood Partner) or NDIA planner will be in touch to talk with you about your current plan. They will work with you to do a plan reassessment.
They will ask you about:
- How your plan is going
- Your budgets and how you’ve used your funding
- Any reports you have from providers
- Any new or different information about your situation.
New plans may be for up to three years except for children under 9.
More visibility for providers
PACE will make it easier for providers to access a participant’s plan if they have the appropriate consent. Registered providers will be able to view a participant’s goals and nominee details. Plan managers will be able to view the parts of a plan they’re managing.
A new NDIS website
The NDIS is developing a new website with plenty of information about the changes and new systems and for people transitioning to the NDIS PACE system. The existing website remains live for people who haven’t yet moved to PACE. You can find the new site here: https://improvements.ndis.gov.au
Are you looking to switch to Acacia Plan Management?
PACE will make it the process of switching to Acacia Plan Management from a different provider easier. You won’t need to advise your existing plan manager of your decision to switch (although you can if you wish to); simply contact the NDIA directly to advise you want to change plan managers, endorse Acacia Plan Management and the switch will happen right away!
Frequently Asked Questions
How will I know I’m on the PACE system?
You can find out if you’re on PACE during your next plan reassessment and new participants will be notified that they’re on PACE during their planning meeting.
Are there changes to how my funding is provided to me?
As part of PACE the NDIA will release funds in intervals, this could mean NDIS participants with a three-year plan have their funds released every 12 months, however this will change depending on the length of your plan.
Will my funds rollover when I join PACE?
Once an NDIS participant has moved to the PACE system any unspent funding will be rolled over to the following plan. However, if a participant has an overspend, the amount owing will be deducted from their next plan budget.
How do I endorse a provider?
There are two ways a participant or nominee can endorse a provider:
- Contact the NDIA National Call Centre on 1800 800 110 and advise that they would like to endorse the provider.
- Contact their Local Area Coordinator to advise they would like to endorse a provider.
Do I need to endorse Acacia Plan Management when I’m on PACE?
Yes, once you are on the PACE system you will need to endorse us for Plan Management for each new plan.
How will providers know a customer is on PACE?
There are a few ways a provider will be able to identify whether a customer is on PACE.
- The provider will receive an error message when attempting to submit a single claim payment request. The message will advise that the customer has transitioned to the new system and the next steps you need to take.
- Any existing service bookings will be end dated to the previous plan. This can be viewed in the ‘myplace’ provider portal report function.
- You will no longer be able to create a service booking in the ‘myplace’ provider portal for that customer.
What does the removal of single claims mean for providers?
As participants and their plans move onto PACE, providers won’t be able to use the single line-item claim function in the ‘myplace’ provider portal. Claims for PACE participants will need to occur through a bulk upload aimed at reducing transactional requirements for providers. A single line can be submitted in a bulk upload.
Providers should consider adjusting their business practices to submit all single claims via the bulk upload process.
What is the new request for service process?
Participants can connect with support coordinators by using a request for service through the NDIA. The request for service includes information about the participant’s goals, needs and circumstances.
What is the new ‘my NDIS’ provider portal?
The new ‘my NDIS’ provider portal is different from the ‘myplace’ provider portal. Providers will only need to use the ‘my NDIS’ provider portal if they’re working with a participant who has an NDIS plan in PACE.
Support coordinators and psychosocial recovery coaches who aren’t registered with the NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission will need to create a Provider Digital Access (PRODA) account and register their details with the NDIA to gain access to the ‘my NDIS’ provider portal. Before providers can see participant information in the ‘my NDIS’ provider portal, participants will be asked for their consent.
The NDIS has produced a guide called The Participant Journey explaining how the introduction of PACE will affect each participant when it becomes their time to join the new system. Download the PDF document here.