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  • Marika Kontellis

Advocacy and Care Coordination must be Independent

In times of significant change and market disruption people yearn for unbiased, impartial information and advice to make their decisions. Some people also need support to navigate a changing system that doesn’t always deliver on equity.

There is no doubt in my mind that advocacy services must be resourced and delivered outside the care systems they are operating in. They need to be impartial – not just satisfied with being “at arm’s length”.

Getting impartial advice can be difficult for people and their families particularly when service providers are “chomping at the bit” to get customers through their door and secure their revenue base.

Anything seems possible and nice new brands, interactive websites, a few “freebies” here and there and many promises can be just enough to get a person to sign up for service delivery.

Support to understand the changes, without the “sell job” and independent care coordination to manoeuvre through a rapidly changing market place is highly valued. People understand that there are new rules of engagement and they all want to make sure they don’t miss out on getting “the best out of the system”. They aren’t always sure they can do this and being guided by their direct service provider who stands to lose revenue should another option be taken up could deliver poor outcomes for people.

The NDIA may have bowed to pressure from the large disability organisations and agreed that those same organisations who provide a range of services under the NDIS could also provide independent support coordination services. It will be interesting to see if customers, participants and their families will value impartiality in social care as others do in other “markets”.

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