Information and transparency of service providers
The contents of this article are subject to change due to the freedom of choice model. The Government will give a new proposal for the Freedom of Choice Act in spring 2018.
Counties need information for the planning and management of their activities. Service providers must therefore produce information for counties, for example on the number of clients, waiting times and costs. Clients, too, need information on the quality of health and social services and waiting times to the services so they can make their choices.
When the freedom of choice will gradually expand, all service providers must use national information management services defined by law. They shall, for example, be registered in Kanta services. In Kanta, client and patient information will be available to the extent needed by services providers.
The Social Insurance Institution of Finland (Kela) will establish a national online service where people can sign up as clients to the health and social services centre, dental clinic and unincorporated county enterprise they have chosen.
The freedom of choice model, proposed by the Government on 9 May 2017, will not be taken forward in its present form. For that reason, the principles described below may still change.
Counties will have overall responsibility
According to the government proposal of May 9, the counties will be obliged to inform residents about their rights and benefits and give them advice and support on using health and social services. The counties would be responsible for ensuring that residents have sufficient information for choosing their health and social services.
The counties would be responsible for providing online information about their own services, health and social services centres, dental clinics, service providers delivering services against health and social services vouchers as well as personal budget services. This online service would also have information about the quality and availability of services.
Service providers will be obliged to give information
Health and social services centres and oral health services units would be obliged to provide online up-to-date information about their capacity to take on new clients as well as their effective waiting times. Service providers would have to accept all clients in order of registration if they have capacity to take on new clients.
Health and social services centres and oral health services units must give their clients information about the service providers they have approved to deliver services against health and social services vouchers. Service providers approved to deliver services against health and social services vouchers or personal budget would be obliged to provide online up-to-date information about the relevant services and waiting times.
Clients would have the right to receive the information provided in the online service even orally or in writing. Guidance and advice services would have to pay particular attention to clients who need a wide range of integrated services or special support.
Service providers’ transparency and corporate social responsibility
According to the government proposal of 9 May, providers of health and social services centres and oral health services units as well as providers delivering services against health and social services vouchers must issue annual reports, for example on the following:
- their own revenue
- taxes paid and place of taxation
- profit and loss
- management salaries and bonuses
- corporate social responsibility.
The Act on the Openness of Government Activities and the Administrative Procedure Act will apply to all service providers. Under the Act on the Openness of Government Activities, official documents are in the public domain, unless specifically otherwise provided in an Act. The Administrative Procedure Act contains provisions on the fundamental principles of good administration and on the procedure applicable in administrative matters.
Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338
Pirjo Kainulainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. + 358 295 163 092