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The Innovating Health Series was in Sydney pre-Federal Budget 2017 for a roundtable examining the important area of healthcare funding and payment. The health leader roundtable discussed Responding to Changes in Funding and Payments against a backdrop of innovation.

The MBS Review Taskforce published its Interim Report earlier in 2017 and has extended its scope of work. It is anticipated that there will be further recommendations to the Health Minister in both funding models and policy changes. These recommendations have the potential to deliver changes in health business and service models that are moving in the right direction. The Health Care Homes primary care policy funded by a new, capitated funding model is one such example.

With a focus on funding changes to build robustness and system sustainability, address specific patient cohort treatment needs and provide access to more services in the home or community settings; there is the potential for health system deconstruction paving a new way for healthcare to be accessed and delivered.

We welcomed Dr Jeremy Sammut, a leading advocate in market-based health reform to present alternative models and ways of thinking about health system change and sustainability in the context of evolving health funding and payment arrangements. The discussion sought to explore the opportunities for change and innovation within current and future funding and payment models. Dr Sammut provides independent advice on healthcare funding and economics with the Centre for Independent Studies.

Of note, our guide introduced the notion of Health Innovation Communities as an alternative way of viewing system payments through free trade zones and enabling community and service innovation. The argument was made that the current funding model structures are rigid and continue to reward existing system inefficiencies. This inflexibility stifles innovation and disables change toward more consumer-centric models of care. Health Innovation Communities set the context for a challenging and thought provoking discussion whilst also reflecting on the complexity of the healthcare system and delivering change.

The take-away points from this health leader discussion are highlighted in the summary report here.