Tribunal: Deputy President S A Forgie
In this decision, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (the AAT) considered whether questions posed to an applicant’s allied health professionals by the National Disability Insurance Agency (the Agency) were relevant to the Agency’s decision about the ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports to include in the applicant’s plan. The AAT agreed with the Agency that the questions posed were relevant and did not extend beyond the scope of the professional expertise of the allied health professionals.
The applicant had a diagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome and moderate hearing loss and was provided with a participant plan by the Agency, which included some of the supports they had originally requested. The applicant sought an internal review of their original plan and the Agency amended the participant plan to include some of the supports originally requested by the applicant. The applicant then applied to the AAT for review of the amended plan.
The AAT considered reports from the applicant’s treating allied health professionals including a podiatrist, physiotherapist and occupational therapist. The Agency informed the Tribunal that they had posed a number of questions to the allied health professionals and that the applicant had provided some, but not all, answers to them for consideration. The applicant argued that that some of the questions were not directly related to their impairments and that they extended beyond the scope of the allied health professionals’ expertise.
Under the Administrative Appeals Tribunal Act 1975 (Cth), the AAT directed both parties to confer and compile a list of outstanding questions and to report back with additional reports. The parties were unable to agree on which practitioners to ask further questions or the questions that should be posed. The Tribunal proceeded to decide the matter and determined that the Agency’s questions to the allied health professionals were all relevant.
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