The disability sector can now offset the increased costs of Personal Protective Equipment within Wimmera organisations after almost six months of providers outlaying from their own coffers.
Providers will be entitled to claim the cost of PPE - including masks - when delivering face-to-face assistance with daily living supports in Victoria from July 29.
Non-for-profit organisation Pinnacle has felt the impacts of requirements for the use of PPE since the start of March.
"The difficulties for us were accessing suitable PPE and the quantities that we needed," acting chief executive Kathryn Clayton said.
"It sounds bizarre but we ended up finding a distillery in Ascot Vale that was linked with a compound pharmacist to get the quantities of sanitizer that we needed.
"We couldn't order it anywhere. The cost had also increased from $99 for five litres to more than $200 for the same quantity."
Mrs Clayton said over the past five to six months the organisation spent countless hours trying to source PPE that would fit within its budget.
"There was no funding for PPE for such a long time," she said. "This was all before it was mandatory. We worked really hard in getting our kits ready and our organisation set up so we could cope with a positive case.
"It is a huge financial cost but it's one we need to endure and do correctly."
Mrs Clayton said DHHS released recommendations of wearing masks before the mandatory wearing of masks was implemented.
"Throughout the organisation, we estimated we need 350 masks per day," she said.
"This is for both staff and those clients who are in the community.
"We do have some clients who are unable to wear masks because of health reasons, sensory issues or any other reasons.
"We have written exemptions for those people and we are making a conscious effort to make sure they are socially distancing and minimising risk for everyone as well."
Mrs Clayton said costs associated with PPE weren't the only financial burden the organisation was trying to balance.
"Our funding is dependent on the NDIS. If we aren't providing a service to a person we are no longer funded for that individual," she said.
"The income for the businesses has dropped dramatically.
"Without holidaymakers in places like Halls Gap then there is less laundry to come in. Embroidability has still retained one contract but the cancellations of the football and netball seasons has had a huge impact on that business."
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