Key concerns faced by the assistive technology (AT) industry in the NDIA context;
1. Utilization of current State Government contracts (controlled purchase/ known supply structures, rules and payment models), are been used despite different circumstances to the NDIA as the bench mark in pricing. The free market model of the NDIA needs to recognise the addition costs involved, e.g. individual quoting based on ‘goals and objectives’, submission, after sales service, financial impact of product returns, warranty, backup service under the “ACCC & Fair Trading legislation”.
2. Design Solution as part of the quoting process is ‘product specific’ and is by design intellectual property. The NDIS is paying a set fee to use this intellectual property to access competing quotes from different AT suppliers. The use of the expertise from the first quote is placing the AT supplier who has undertaken the detailed specification development to ensure a good fit to the Participant’s needs and goals (‘quote’ provider) at a significant commercial disadvantage as the second/third party is trading off the original company’s intellectual property, at no cost to themselves. In addition, NDIA is assuming a design solution is universal, however in most cases AT design solution is product/brand specific to how the Health Practitioner has crafted the solution based on the products and his/her expertise, therefore a design solution is not universal.
3. ‘Best value’ needs to be better communicated on what are the objectives from the NDIA; Purchase cost, return on investment, cost reduction of plan, life expectancy of the purchased item, ATSA suggest that it should be a combination of all 4 points.