As Support Coordinators, I reckon between the team, we have been involved in over one thousand plan reviews in our 5 years. There is a bit of a common theme that we have all noticed with the process after a plan is approved. It is so lengthy, not to mention how time consuming the review process itself is. It makes me wonder, is this being done intentionally so we just give up to save our sanity?
Let me explain why I am so frustrated.
I recently submitted a review of a reviewable decision which once that came around some three months later, we were told that an unscheduled plan review would be better. Forget the fact that I suggested this to the agency at the beginning but they told me to do a review of a reviewable decision instead…
The reason for this review was because in our original review meeting, the planner who conducted the meeting left the agency so another planner stepped in and just put new dates on the old plan. The old plan was significantly out of date with completely inadequate funding due to changing needs.
Some many months later, we finally have the unscheduled review meeting. All information such as therapy reports, AT requests with quotes, CoS report and much more had already been sent to the agency. We’d done all the necessary groundwork. We have a great meeting, the planner listens, acknowledges the frustration in the whole process, says he has all the documentation and now has enough information to build the plan.
A few weeks later, the plan finally comes back. At first glance I thought, yeah ok, this plan looks pretty good. And then, when I had a few minutes to spare, I started breaking down the budgets. The therapy budget was a bit short of what was recommended, but ok, I thought, I guess we can work with that. My bigger concern was why couldn’t I find any equipment listed. There wasn’t any. No equipment was included. This has to be a mistake.
I follow up with the planner for an explanation.
He tells me: “Why would there be equipment when there is no report or quotes”.
My response: “I sent them to you, I sent them to Enquiries, and the therapist also submitted them through their process with a receipt of acknowledgement from the NDIA two months before this unscheduled review even occurred, we also discussed it in our meeting”.
His answer: “The plan has to be reviewed again… expect delays”.
You can understand by now how frustrated I am. I can’t believe it. It was quite evident that the planner was completely unprepared, did not read any of the therapy reports that were provided (well ahead of time) and just made decisions based on their own judgement of what they thought should be reasonable and necessary.
He gave no acknowledgment of his error and blame was just shifted to another planner. This is just not good enough. I am so sick of this happening continuously.
The worst part in this completely disorganised and complicated process is that it puts vulnerable people at even more risk of receiving inadequate support and lengthy delays which can lead to trauma, hospitalisation, neglect and so much more. Not to mention the stress of the whole process which is enough to send you up the wall.
Get it right the first time, take responsibility for your actions and do better.