Service voucher experiments

Service vouchers give freedom of choice

The ongoing service voucher experiments will produce information for the preparation of the model for clients’ freedom of choice in health and social services. It is implemented as part of the Government key project Services responsive to client needs. The experiments will be implemented on the basis of the existing Service Voucher Act (569/2009 and the Act on Client Fees in Social Welfare and Health Care (734/1992).

The experiments will examine the effects of clients’ freedom of choice on access to health and social services and on their quality. Another objective is to find out how different service pricing and reimbursement models affect the total expenditure on health and social services. The experiments will focus on examining the impacts of freedom of choice on clients, the service organiser’s role, service providers, service integration and changes in the services market. They will also produce information for the development of ITC solutions supporting the freedom of choice model.

Freedom of choice means that clients can choose between public, private or third sector service providers. The goal is to find an economically appropriate model that allows equal access to care and services and client involvement and that stimulates improvements in service provision.

Projects financed

The regions participating in the service voucher experiments have been granted discretionary government transfers twice: around EUR 9 million in December 2016 and around EUR 14.5 million following the expansion of the experiments in December 2017. There are altogether ten ongoing regional experiments. The participating regions and areas are South Karelia, Ostrobothnia, Hämeenlinna, Ylä-Savo, Jyväskylä, Kainuu, Päijät-Häme, North Karelia, Pirkanmaa and Uusimaa.

There are three options for piloting clients’ freedom of choice: direct-choice reception services in health and social services centres, direct-choice oral health services, and personal budget. The experiments are to be implemented in 2016–2018. They can continue in 2019 in a manner to be specified later.

The implementation of the experiments is a collaboration of several partners, including the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Kela and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra.

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Vuokko Lehtimäki, Project Manager, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163256, [email protected]