Friday December 01, 2023
Wellbeing counties to receive central govt funding
Published : 14 Mar 2023, 00:09
The wellbeing services counties will start receiving a portion of their central government funding based on their health and wellbeing promoting work and its effectiveness, said the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) in a press release on Monday.
The total amount being distributed on this basis is EUR 217 million, which equates to about 1% of total funding for wellbeing services counties.
This health and wellbeing promotion-based funding will be introduced for the first time in 2026.
"Although the amount distributed sounds small, it is significant from the perspective of health and wellbeing promotion work", said Timo Ståhl, Chief Specialist of THL.
The money is general, not earmarked funding, which means it is included in central government funding received by the wellbeing services county. Each wellbeing services county may use the funding as it sees fit in order to carry out the tasks assigned to it.
The aim is to encourage wellbeing services counties to engage in activities that promote residents’ wellbeing, functional capacity, and work ability. Improved wellbeing also helps to curb the increase in social welfare and health care costs.
"If the wellbeing services county wished to use the health and wellbeing promotion funding for preventive work, then it could, for example, strengthen physical activity councelling, nutrition counselling or substance abuse prevention. It is clear that shifting the focus to preventive services requires specialists", said Maarit Varjonen-Toivonen, Chief Physician for Pirkanmaa wellbeing services county.
Health and wellbeing promotion is a new type of criterion for central government funding, as each wellbeing services county can influence it through its own actions.
Until now, the key principle of central government funding has been that the amount of funding is based on the calculated costs of statutory services. The funding has been determined by factors that cannot be directly influenced by the counties’ own actions.
The new central government funding will be allocated on the basis of the 'coefficient based on health and wellbeing performance’. This coefficient consists of process indicators that measure the wellbeing services county's activities, such as vaccination coverage or finding out support needs of schoolchildren who have not participated in periodic health examinations.
The other half of the coefficient will be determined on the basis of performance, i.e. what kind of change has been achieved in the wellbeing and health of the population. For example, has the county succeeded in reducing the number of hip fractures among older people or the proportion of NEETs (young people not in employment, education or training).
The coefficient based on health and wellbeing performance rewards active wellbeing services counties. The basic premise is that all counties will receive some share of the total amount to be distributed, but those who have done higher-quality work and achieved results will receive more. The mechanism is therefore the opposite of, for example, funding based on service needs, in which the more a certain disease is present in the wellbeing services county, the more funding it receives.
"Although the health and welfare coefficient won’t be introduced for another three years, this is not a time for sitting idly by. The work now being done will influence the indicators that will be used to calculate the coefficient for the first time in autumn 2025", Ståhl added.