Peak Body Moves on Public Health SIBs
4 November 2015 at 10:35 am
Social impact bonds could improve Australia’s public health system through private investment, according to the national peak body for public and Not for Profit hospitals and healthcare services.
The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) recently brought together health sector leaders to discuss the emerging use of social impact investing and its potential to drive positive health outcomes in primary and acute care.
"Using social impact investing to drive positive health outcomes for specific conditions or populations is very much in its infancy in Australia," AHHA Chief Executive, Alison Verhoeven, said.
"But governments, such as New South Wales among others, are beginning to look at the international trend and considering how social impact investing can be used in Australia to drive outcome-focused improvements."
Verhoeven said the attractiveness of social impact investing was developing public-private partnerships which could promote innovation and increase accountability in service delivery.
"Impact investing in health would require a change in mindset away from discussions of whether private or public interests are responsible for ill-health. The focus shifts to the mitigation of ill-health by adjusting tastes and behaviours and the achievement of health outcomes," she said.
The AHHA, supported by its research arm, the Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research, discussed the development of measurable outcomes, securing investors who seek a return on a public good, the development of effective and innovative interventions, and consensus among all parties throughout the process.
"Working together, Primary Health Networks (PHN) and Local Health Districts (LHD) are well-placed to be agents of positive change in realising better population health outcomes while being prudent fiscal stewards of public funds," Verhoeven said.
"PHNs and LHDs have an opportunity to engage in impact investments in order to respond more directly to local needs. A funded emphasis on better health outcomes rather than simply focusing on payments based on activity is consistent with the commissioning role envisaged for the PHNs.
"More work is needed to determine the applicability of social impact investing to the Australian primary and acute care environment. Federal and State Governments will be keeping a close eye on the success of efforts."