Workshop Raised Awareness Among Health Reform Leaders in Ten Countries about the Benefits and Opportunities Associated with Costing of Healthcare Services
Mumbai, INDIA – August 27, 2015 – The Joint Learning Network for Universal Health Coverage held the first ever train the trainer workshop on costing of health services for provider payments. The five day workshop taught participants how to design a costing study and how to train other practitioners to use costing study techniques. The workshop attracted participants from ten Joint Learning Network countries, including India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Ghana, Malaysia, Vietnam, Kenya, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Moldova. The workshop was organized by ACCESS Health International and the Suvarna Arogya Suraskha Trust, Government of Karnataka, on behalf of the Provider Payment Mechanism Costing Collaborative of the Joint Learning Network. The Suvarna Arogya Suraskha Trust is one of the Joint Learning Network representatives in India.
To achieve and sustain universal health coverage, governments must generate resources to expand the health coverage base, distribute resources equitably, use resources efficiently to achieve maximum benefit in terms of meeting healthcare needs, ensure quality of care, and protect users from financial hardship due to out of pocket expenses. Setting provider payment rates is a balancing act for the health purchaser. The purchaser has three primary goals:
To keep total payments to providers within available resources
To pay providers enough to keep them satisfied and providing good quality services
To create incentives that lead providers to improve efficiency, quality, and responsiveness to patients
“This workshop was a great learning experience. I was amazed that the costing experts helped us understand the right methodology and customize costing to the context of each country,” said Navneet Jain, Cost Accountant and Managing Partner, Navneet and Company, India.
Public investment in healthcare is slightly more than one percent of GDP, which is on the lower side when compared to the GDP of peer countries. Private health insurance covers about five percent of the total population. An additional twelve percent have some coverage under government sponsored health insurance programs. Effective financing mechanisms are a critical requirement for improving access to healthcare. Among other priorities to advance universal health coverage, such as sound budget allocation and sustainable policy solutions, a shared understanding of how to gather, analyze, and update health services costing information for provider payments is essential to enable a healthcare model that delivers access for all.
Sireesha Perabathina, Associate Director, ACCESS Health Joint Learning Network, said, “Costing of health services is one of the important technical priorities for many countries advancing toward universal health coverage. This train the trainer workshop is a pioneering step toward adopting a scientific approach to costing studies across countries, including India.”
By the end of the workshop, participants were able to design a costing study and were ready to train others in their home countries. The workshop curriculum was designed for those affiliated with government sponsored health insurance programs; practitioners involved in costing research, data management, health planning. Also included were cost accountants and senior managers of service provider organizations and health insurance funds; finance ministry; and private sector hospital officials who are associated with government institutions.