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Freedom of choice pilot projects

Pilot projects will experiment with extending the freedom of choice in health and social services.

The Finnish Government is proposing that freedom of choice in health and social services be expanded as part of the regional government, health and social services reform. The freedom of choice model will be tested in the form of pilot projects in different parts of Finland.

The legislative proposal for the new freedom of choice legislation is currently being discussed by Parliament, and the objective is for the new legislation to be approved in June–July. The preparation of the freedom of choice pilot projects can commence as soon as the new legislation is approved. The implementation of the pilot projects is subject to the approval of the new freedom of choice legislation.

An appropriation of EUR 100 million has been reserved in the state budget for implementing the freedom of choice pilot projects in 2018–2021. In addition to this, an appropriation of another EUR 100 million has been reserved for the pilot projects in the decision on spending limits. As such, the total amount of funding reserved for the pilot projects is EUR 200 million.

The additional funding will allow the pilot programme to be expanded to regions that were left without funding in this spring’s call for proposals. A new call for proposals for freedom of choice pilot projects will be organised in autumn 2018.

What are the pilot projects about?

At this point, regional trials pertaining to the freedom of choice pilot projects are being funded with EUR 99 million. Funding has been granted to the regions of South Karelia, Southern Ostrobothnia, Southern Savonia, Central Ostrobothnia, Central Finland, Kymenlaakso, Northern Savonia, Päijänne Tavastia, Satakunta and Uusimaa.

The pilot projects are aimed at supporting the implementation of freedom of choice legislation as part of the regional government, health and social services reform. The freedom of choice pilot projects and trials will provide valuable information on the effectiveness of the freedom of choice model.

The upcoming pilot projects will focus on four different elements: the choice of health and social services centre, the choice of oral health services unit, the use of health and social services vouchers and the use of a personal budget. The pilot projects may also combine these elements.

In addition to the pilot projects, there are also freedom of choice experiments (also known as service voucher experiments) currently underway.

Pilot projects to become visible to residents at the start of next year

The pilot projects will start to become visible in the everyday lives of residents at the start of 2019. The residents of participating regions will be able to e.g. choose the health and social services centre that they wish to receive health care services and guidance on social services from. The chosen health and social services centre can be private or public.

The residents of pilot project areas will be informed of their possible choices before the start of the pilot projects.

Further information

Kirsi Varhila, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)295 163 338, firstname.lastname@stm.fi (call requests by SMS)
Kirsi Paasovaara, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)295 163 012, firstname.lastname@stm.fi
Pasi Pohjola, Director, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 (0)295 163 585, firstname.lastname@stm.fi (call requests by SMS)