Understanding Funding Models in Palliative Care: Who pays and who provides?

Back in 2012, Fliss Murtag, Professor of Palliative Care, Hull York Medical School, UK, and her team, embarked on a program of research to understand case mix, complexity, resource use, and outcomes in palliative care. The team sought common denominators of funding models worldwide.

Their findings, published in a paper this year, have been chosen as ‘Editor’s Choice’ for the April issue of Palliative Medicine. For the sake of background, Murtag has penned the story of how the research was conducted and ultimately published.

“Searching for a better understanding of how palliative care was resourced, we had been reading and finding out about different funding models for palliative care in different countries,” says Murtag.  “Some people could tell us part of the story but it was so often incomplete. It was also hard to find out about specific funding and policy information without talking to the ‘locals’ from each country. So we decided to investigate further, and seek ‘country experts’ from a range of countries to find out more detail.”

As the interviews progressed, the complexities grew. After a round of interviews failed to produce concrete common denominators, the team went back and re-interviewed their experts, partly to better understand the context of the theoretical framework but also because funding of palliative care can change rapidly. The second round of interviews produced key insights, which include:

  • Providers of palliative care are rarely paid in a way that directly reflects either individual needs or population needs
  • Inequities in ‘the system’ are often perpetuated by the existing funding models
  • Most palliative care is funded by an extremely ‘mixed’ economy of charitable, public and private funds, with all the advantages and disadvantages this brings.

Click here to read the full story.

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