Home support providers say funding insufficient

Home support providers have told the Southern District Health Board they cannot provide the service within current funding.

Three large providers based in the North Island replaced an array of home support providers in a controversial shake-up last year.

Southern District Health Board planning and funding director Sharon Boardman told last Thursday's board meeting staff were reviewing information about client demand that had determined what providers were paid. The process was expected to take a couple of weeks.

''[There is a] financial impact on them that they have indicated they can't sustain,'' she said.

Asked if the old providers had had economies of scale to provide the service more cheaply, Ms Boardman suggested to the Otago Daily Times by email this was not the case.

''Southern District Health Board changed the basis of payment for home and community support services from one based on fee for service, to a bulk-funded model, which aims to maximise user independence. ''This is the first stage in a new process which delivers improved service to the community and it is natural that there has to be some change to funding as it beds in.

''The changes are not related to the size or number of providers but are related to the needs of users.''

It was unclear whether the board would recompense providers, but members were warned home support was one of the items contributing to a potentially worse-than-expected deficit this financial year.

- eileen.goodwin@odt.co.nz

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