Improve Commissioning Approaches
Action 4.2.1 & 4.2.3
Develop funding approaches that focus on strengthening consumer outcomes
Explore options for funding the full cost of service, including resources required for engagement and warm referral of all consumers accessing services
With the intent of reviewing current service models and commissioning approaches to ensure consumer outcomes were prioritised, the PHN undertook a review of its Brisbane MIND program in late 2018 – to better understand which elements, were working well, and what could be improved. The review involved conversations with a range of stakeholders, including current service users, a number of allied health professionals delivering the services, a number of GPs who referred people to the Program, and internal PHN staff who administered the Program.
The messages from people were clear – there were some strong and positive aspects to the service model and the way services were commissioned, but there were some elements that needed changing:
- Some stakeholders shared that whilst access to the Program was reasonable for most people, some vulnerable populations struggled to gain access, and if they did, they often didn’t receive the specialised service they needed
- Some stakeholders noted that the existing funding model meant that consumers who gained access to the program were unlikely to be connected to other complementary support services, and that incentivising or systematising this would be beneficial
- Some stakeholders noted that referrals were often made to the Program without careful consideration of other more appropriate options, and that remedying this could assist with managing demand on the Program.
Guided by the valuable feedback, the PHN implemented a number of changes to the service model and the way it engaged providers – which included:
- Engaging a smaller number of specialist providers to better reach and meet the needs of people from vulnerable populations
- Implementing block-funding arrangements to allow more meaningful and comprehensive engagement with people, which would then facilitate connections with other services as appropriate
- Designing and implementing strategies to promote the full range of services available in the region.
These changes were planned and implemented by 1 July 2019.
One of the PHN’s key goals moving forward is to ensure all commissioning approaches lead to better outcomes for people. The willingness to trial new funding models, given the potential for more comprehensive care and improved outcomes, is an area the PHN will continue to explore – including monitoring the uptake and implementation of the new Brisbane MIND service model to see if outcomes are improved.