The Service Provider Portal is an online invoicing system designed to streamline the payments to service providers (or so the government says). As a parent there are some things that you need to know.
Service providers have the right to be paid on time and this goes a long way to making that happen. Instead of submitting a paper invoice, they complete the online form and are paid almost immediately. It also allows the service provider to see when a Request to Pay (RTP) or a Request to Amend (RTA) has been processed, and the system keeps a running total of how much funding is left.
A paper invoice for the family is not required. The service portal will not accept an excel invoice which most Behaviour Consultants (BC) have used for their invoicing in the past. It may be tempting for a minority of service providers to not provide a separate invoice for their clients, leaving them out of the loop.
In my experience most service providers are completely honest and ethical however as with any group of people there are always a few disreputable characters. This new system allows fraud to occur at a much faster pace with the families unaware of what is happening until it is too late. Sadly, MCFD has not been monitoring the RASP list and sanctioning individuals as needed.
What Can You Do?
As a parent, you must insist on monthly updates for Autism Funding Unit (AFU) billing. This may be in the form of an invoice or a detailed list of hours and hourly rates. It is imperative that you monitor this and contact the AFU the minute you realize that fraudulent billing is taking place. You also need to be aware that the service provider may cancel or amend their invoice after the fact.
The moment you suspect fraudulent billing is taking place, you must contact the AFU and amend the RTP form to stop further charges. The feedback that I have been getting is that once the money is gone, you are not getting it back.
You should also sign up for your own Autism Funding Portal as this will allow you to keep tabs on what services have been billed to your child’s account.