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16.12.15

Changes to mental health payment methods pushed back to 2017-18

Commissioners and providers of adult and older people’s mental health care will not have to introduce new payment models in 2016-17, according to Monitor. 

Instead the intention is to introduce rule changes for 2017-18, but the regulator, in its December board papers, noted that those able to introduce new models from April next year “will be encouraged to do so”. 

In October, Monitor engaged with the sector on proposed changes to the 2016-17 rules, which required local payment arrangements to be based on: 

  • An episode of care or year of care basis (depending on which was appropriate for the patients underlying condition) or
  • Payment would need to be based on capitation. 

In both cases there would be a requirement to link a proportion of payment to achievement of locally agreed outcome measures. 

But Toby Lambert, Monitor’s director of pricing, noted that “feedback indicated the sector supports proposals and the direction of travel, but is largely unable to implement changes in 2016-17 and would be able to do so in 2017-18”. 

Based on this feedback the team plan to amend mental health payment proposals for the statutory consultation. Changes to the payment arrangement for 2016-17 will not be required, but the intention to introduce the rule changes for 2017-18 will be included. 

For 2016-17, drafting will be clarified within relevant local payment rules to make it clear that “unaccountable block contracts are not acceptable”, and that payment arrangements need to be developed in a “transparent and evidenced-based way”. 

The Development team will publish material to aid local development and implementation of payment approaches, as proposed in the October consultation letter.

(Image: c. David Cheskin PA Wire Press Assoication Images)

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