Funding model will provide value for money

1/12/2008 SCMP


I would like to comment on the Hospital Authority's new funding measures (Funding reforms to make public hospitals provide better care, November 19).

Starting from 2009, the authority is going to introduce a funding model which is based on case volume, treatment and complexity. It is envisaged that this model will enhance transparency and ensure fairness of internal resource allocation in public hospitals.

There are concerns that this new model may lead to competition among hospitals and increase the workload of frontline staff, thus compromising service quality.

However, I believe it should be able to provide value for money in a disease management context so that resources are better optimised to address the health needs of different regions.

The proposed model no longer calculates funding based on population. Instead, resources are to be allocated according to the disease pattern profiles and treatment characteristics of each region.

Hospitals within each region will get the appropriate funds depending on what they have done for their patients.

The model will encourage hospitals to focus on providing appropriate treatment regimes to address the disease pattern needs of that region.

However, in order to avoid funding abuse and unnecessary competition there must be a transparent benchmarking system, such as diagnoses-related groups.

This will enable hospitals to understand their differences in funding. It will offer incentives to increase the technical efficiency of hospitals and above all drive service quality in a positive way.

The system should also be able to factor in the cost of each type of disease management regime, such as equipment and drug costs and manpower resources, so that relevant funding can be channelled to the frontline staff to help them attend to their workloads.

Having established a benchmarking system, wide consultation with management and the front line is necessary to ensure its applicability and practicality.

Last Updated: 2008-12-01