Providers of direct-choice services
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.
Any operator can sign up as service providers to publicly funded health and social services centres and oral health services units if they meet the required criteria and are registered service providers. The service providers need to have sufficient economic capacity and professionally competent personnel.
The model for freedom of choice, issued by the Government on 9 May 2017, will not be advanced in its present form. The position of service providers may therefore still change from the description below.
In publicly funded health and social services centres and oral health services units, services can be offered by an unincorporated county enterprise, county-owned company, private enterprises or organisations and communities. The freedom-of-choice model calls these services as direct-choice services because people can sign up directly as clients to a health and social services centre or dental clinic.
Providers must meet the requirements set by the county
The county will conclude contracts with service providers who meet the requirements. The service providers must also provide such security as the county accepts. The county can also require certification.
Service providers offering services in health and social services centres or oral health services units can provide services themselves, conclude contracts with other providers, acquire services from other service providers, or grant their clients health and social services vouchers. Clients can use services vouchers for choosing the service provider themselves. In any case, the health and social services centre or oral health services unit will always be responsible for the service package of the individual client as well as for the quality and cost of the services.
Health and social services centres and oral health services units must provide their clients with the whole selection of services required by law (Government proposal of 9 May). In addition, service providers may specialise in providing services to specified client groups in the way they choose. Service providers are liable for any errors caused by their service provision and for rectifying them at their own cost.
Services in Finnish and Swedish in bilingual municipalities
In bilingual municipalities, the health and social services centres and oral health services units must serve clients both in Finnish and Swedish. The county may, upon request, grant exception if the region has an adequate amount of units where clients can choose and use their mother tongue.
Health and social services centres and oral health services units must cooperate with the county and municipality of their operating area in order to promote wellbeing and health.
The Act on Organising Healthcare and Social Welfare Services will lay down that service providers have an obligation to offer training and internships to health and social sector students.
- Freedom of choice from the counties’ perspective (according to Government proposal of 9 May) Fact sheet 5/2017
Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 338
Maija-Riitta Jouttimäki, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 383
Pirjo Kainulainen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. + 358 295 163 092