EzeScan solves NDIS process challenge

Spinal Life Australia, a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) provider, has implemented a capture solution from EzeScan to streamline the process of administering plan management and invoice payment for its clients.

The NDIS is currently being rolled out across Australia, giving people with a disability access to essential funding they need to achieve their goals.

There are now more than 275,000 Australians benefitting from the NDIS, according to the March 2019 quarterly report provided to the COAG Disability Reform Council. This is set to rise to 460,000 people at full roll-out in 2020.

As at 31 March 2019, there were 20,208 registered NDIS service providers, of which 9,117 were individual/sole trader operated businesses and 11,091 were companies or organisations.

As the number of NDIS participants has risen, so has the requisite paperwork that must flow between funding recipients, registered service providers and the NDIS.

Under the scheme, individuals have the flexibility to select their own supports and services and pay for them via an NDIS portal, which contains their own personalised funding plan.

Spinal Life’s mission is to support people with spinal cord damage to live accessible, equitable and empowered lives, offering a range of services including personal care and allied health.

With an increase in clients asking for support to process NDIS claims and related invoices, Spinal Life Chief Information Officer Brent Silva went to market for an automation solution to solve a range of challenges.

“As the NDIS has been progressively rolled out, we have been working through significant changes to our processes and procedures, including introducing a plan management service that assists clients with the financial administration side of the NDIS,” Mr Silva said. 

“This service grew to the stage where we had about 1,000 invoices arriving per month. They would arrive in an inbox where one team would print them out, stamp them and manually claim them via the NDIS portal.

“This team would then provide that paper copy to our Accounts Payable Officer, who would then re-enter the data into our TechnologyOne system to be processed.”

To outline the NDIS claiming challenge, Mr Silva provides the example of client who uses a wheelchair and needs to have someone mow their lawn.

“If somebody organises a mowing company to come and mow their lawn, and they are using our plan management service, they will then send the bill to us to make a claim on the NDIS portal on their behalf.

“In order for the claim to be processed by the NDIS, the person must also have the necessary funding allowances for this service under their personalised NDIS plan.

“Along with entering the invoice details, we need to add in a unique NDIS support code which corresponds to the services that are funded under a person’s plan, and there are over 600 of those.

“We also have to match the invoice information with the participant’s details including their individual NDIS reference number, which previously involved manual data queries of our CareLink client management system or the TechnologyOne system.”

EzeScan was engaged to automate the processing of NDIS claims that are emailed with attached PDF invoices. In collaboration with Spinal Life, a module was developed to extract line item data from invoices and insert them into a CSV file that could be bulk uploaded to the NDIS portal for claims. As part of this module, EzeScan also obtains data such as the client’s NDIS reference number through automatic querying of internal Spinal Life systems including CareLink and TechnologyOne.

“We worked closely with EzeScan to build in the ability to further assist our team by predicting the NDIS support codes that need to be added to a line item. So, for example, if it’s an invoice from a particular mowing company, EzeScan is able to show the support codes that have been used on the last five invoices from this vendor, which helps to reduce time as well,” Mr Silva said.

After the claims have been uploaded to the NDIS portal, a payment reference file is returned for each individual claim, including payment details and any errors that may have been found. 

The Spinal Life team is then able to overlay the data in EzeScan to pick up any errors and correct them at an invoice level before it is passed over to the TechnologyOne system.

“By using EzeScan, we have been able to streamline the payment processes and avoid the duplication of tasks, many of which were previously done manually,” Mr Silva said.

“This also improves the accuracy of the data as it is being managed in the one place, where it can be reviewed and uploaded to the NDIS portal, then amended based on the response if there are any errors found before reaching TechnologyOne.”

Spinal Life is also implementing the EzeScan solutions for processing all corporate invoices through the TechnologyOne system, using approval workflows within the organisation.

Demos Gougoulas, Director Sales and Marketing at EzeScan said, “The term ‘customisation’ has always been synonymous with ‘expensive’, no more so when applying this to software development.  At EzeScan we prefer to create software that is highly configurable and easy to deploy.  Our solution for Spinal Life Australia was 95% existing functionality. At EzeScan, making digital work, has become our mantra”.