NDIS starts its roll-out in Gippsland

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) has begun its national roll out and is on track to commence in parts of Gippsland in October this year.  There is a lot of information available and it can be complex to understand so we wanted to take the time to make sure our clients are well informed.  This is a huge step forward for those in Australia with hearing loss.  Up until now there have been no funds available for those with hearing loss that are older than 26 years and not on a pension.

What is the NDIS?

The NDIS is a new way of providing support/funding to Australian citizens under the age of 65, with a permanent disability, including hearing loss.

 

Who is eligible?

To be eligible to receive funding for your hearing loss and related needs you must demonstrate that you are:

  • Under 65 years
  • An Australian citizen
  • Encounter communication difficulties because of this hearing loss
  • Have an average hearing loss of 23dB or more across 3 500Hz, 1kHz & 2kHz (likely eligible if you already have hearing aids)
  • Not eligible to receive funding for your hearing loss through another agency (eg. Worksafe), or through pension benefits.

 

How to apply for NDIS funding?
To apply for funding through the NDIS you will need to get an access request from by calling the NDI agency (NDIA) on 1800 800 110.  Although funding is not available in the Baw Baw, Latrobe valley, Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires until October, applications can be accepted from April this year.  Funding in Casey & Cardinia will be available from 1 September 2018 and in Wellington & East Gippsland from 1 January 2019.  Applicants can be made up to 6 months prior to these dates.

 

Application process so far:  As the NDIS is in its early stages (national roll-out only started in July 2016), they are still finding their feet with it being that hearing loss has been a particularly troublesome area.

 

What we know so far:  Upon application you will need to provide supporting documentation about your hearing loss.  This is to be completed by your hearing care provider and needs to include a recent hearing assessment and report.  Gippsland Audiology is an accredited NDIS provider therefore your audiologist will be able to provide you with a report containing all the information required to support your application.  Following the submission of your written application, including the report, you will be assigned a case manager who will work with you to develop your first NDIS plan.  The plan will identify the reasonable and necessary supports you require to meet your immediate needs and start to identify and achieve your goals. Your plan will then be reviewed/renewed every 12 months.  Once your NDIS plan has been approved and the necessary funds made available you are free to chose any registered hearing care provider to assist you with your hearing needs.

 

What will the NDIS fund?

The NDIS will fund reasonable and necessary supports. For those with hearing loss this includes appointments with your hearing care provider, hearing aids, ongoing maintenance/repair of your hearing aids and any other services that may help with other issues arising from your hearing loss, eg. psychology.

 

Our Advice

Apply early, given the lengthy processing time. Remember you will require a recent hearing test and report to support your application form.  Visit ndis.gov.au or call them on 1800 800 110 to request and access (application form) or pop in and see any of our Audiologists to discuss further.


New clinic in Berwick

We are excited that Gippsland Audiology are now providing hearing services in Berwick. We will open our doors for the first time on April 7th at Suite 8, 48 Kangan Drive, Berwick.

This is a great opportunity for Gippsland Audiology to expand into this growing area. While we will be offering our full range of services from Berwick, we will also be providing diagnostic audiology for Mr Guillermo Hurtado, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist, who will be consulting next door.

New clinic in Berwick-Letst-News

Laura and Meg are looking forward to seeing you in Berwick, offering our same great services from this new location. We’re sure our clients who travel to our other clinics around the Berwick area will be thrilled to cut down their travel time.

If you would like to make an appointment please call the office on 03 5622 3116. In the next newsletter we will have some more exciting news about another new clinic opening soon!


Free Services for Pensioners

In 1996, Gippsland Audiology Services made a difficult decision to discontinue their Office of Hearing Services (OHS) contract, enabling the provision of subsidised services to eligible pensioner and DVA clients.

With the introduction of hearing services to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the growing number of existing clients eligible for the pension, Gippsland Audiology has applied and been successful in regaining an OHS contract.

australian government department of health

This is very exciting for Gippsland Audiology and its clients. Over the past 20 years, our clients who have transitioned onto a pension have had to seek an alternative hearing care provider in order to use their entitlements. Some have decided to continue to receive services from Gippsland Audiology and forgone their entitlements. We are delighted to be able to continue the care of our clients through all stages, including the use of any eligible entitlements under the pension. Some clients have also been disappointed that their friends and family on a pension have not been able to use their entitlements at Gippsland Audiology – they can now!

If you currently hold a pension card, a DVA Gold Card or a DVA white card for hearing services you are most likely eligible for the OHS program. If you are currently with another provider and wish to receive services from Gippsland Audiology, you are able to transfer your entitlement. Please contact your local Gippsland Audiology office. We will be able to check your eligibility or transfer your services over to Gippsland Audiology.


Hello Leongatha

We are very excited to announce that Gippsland Audiology is now servicing Leongatha and the surrounding South Gippsland area. On November 1st Meg and Andrew purchased Lucy Stevens Audiology, which will now be operating as Gippsland Audiology.

Many of our clients might remember Lucy Stevens. Her first three years working in Leongatha and Morwell were with Gippsland Audiology. In 1995, Lucy started her own clinic in Leongatha, which has serviced South Gippsland from that time. Looking to make moves towards retirement and to spend more time with family, it came time for Lucy to look at a succession plan.

Despite interest from other parties Lucy decided that Gippsland Audiology was the right fit for her clients, feeling reassured that they will continue to receive the same high standard of care. Lucy says, “Working with Gippsland Audiology all those years ago taught me so much about how a caring private and independent audiology practice should run. This merger feels like going home.”

The Leongatha clinic is busy! With Lucy stepping away we have staffed the clinic with Janet, Neil and Khatija. In January 2017, we are looking forward to welcoming Julie Cato to our team. Julie will be based in Leongatha and occasionally in Morwell and Warragul. Originally from Melbourne, Julie completed her Master of Audiology at Flinders University in Adelaide, and moved to Perth to start her Audiology career. On a recent trip back to Melbourne Julie visited Leongatha and liked what she saw. She is looking forward to the move back to Victoria and starting her new role with Gippsland Audiology and we are thrilled to be welcoming her to the team.

Gippsland Audiology’s full range of exceptional services are now available at Leongatha, including adult and child hearing assessments, hearing aid fitting, wax removal, tinnitus awareness and custom plugs. The office is also stocked with the full range of accessories (including hearing aid batteries and filters, earplugs, children’s earwraps and earmuffs, and wax removal drops). We are operating from the same familiar site, in the Primary Health dept of Gippsland Southern Health Service (Leongatha Hospital) and we are proud to be the only permanent clinic in Leongatha and the surrounding area. This enables full continuity of services to our clients and the community.

The clinic can be contacted on the same number (03 5667 5531) and will continue to be open Mon-Thur from 8.30am – 5pm.