23 Mar NZDSN not surprised at IHC decisions
23 March 2017
While NZDSN has no specific comment to make about IHC’s recent actions it is important to highlight that many disability service providers are having to be realistic about how they can maintain quality services and ensure long term financial viability in the face of longstanding pricing and funding issues.
Ultimately providers have to make strategic and business decisions based on whether the maths stacks up in terms of being able to provide a quality service for the funding that is being offered.
Last year NZDSN (as the organisation representing disability service providers) highlighted what it described as a slow burning crisis whereby providers are having to bear significant risks and costs due to the Ministry’s approach to funding. While this was (and still is) most apparent with reference to those individuals with high and complex needs it is symptomatic of wider pricing and funding inadequacies that persist across all services – and have done for some considerable time. Recent events are the inevitable result of Government inaction on these issues.
NZDSN anticipates that, as long as these matters remain unresolved, it is likely that other providers will arrive at a point where they too need to make decisions about their future involvement with some services.
While government, through the Ministry of Health, has been working on a new “Transparent Pricing Model” the gestation of this project has now been close to a decade with still no definitive end in sight. Meanwhile, the difficulties being faced by providers accumulates to the point where the kinds of decisions recently taken by IHC are not at all surprising – and should be no surprise to government either.
Ultimately this all creates a climate of uncertainty for people with disabilities, families and the support staff working in the sector – uncertainty that we could all well do without.
For its part NZDSN recently decided to commission its own piece of work to explore and analyse various aspects of the Governments approach to pricing, procurement and contracting. This work will also include a detailed financial health check of sector providers to assess the level of financial resilience. The intent is to expose shortcomings with current approaches to funding and to offer solutions to guide future decision making by providers, policy makers and funders.
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