It is no secret that commissioners face a funding challenge when it comes to providing adult social care. This challenge will only continue with the expansion of an aging population. Whilst the fact that we are living longer is something to be celebrated, it does come at a cost in funds and resources to the social care market.
At Mears, we believe that if we carry on commissioning home care services under a time-and-task model that focuses purely on driving down the hourly rate of care, these challenges will only continue to get worse. In order to address the capacity-versus-demand pressures, we need to fund, measure and even deliver services differently. Simply paying less per hour does not reduce the overall cost.
The overall cost of adult social care can be diminished by reducing reliance upon more costly residential care, preventing hospital admissions and supporting people to achieve their goals of remaining independent within their own homes for as long as possible.
The funding model used in outcome based care services needs to complement the goals of the service rather than contrast with them. To this end, we create capitated budget arrangements. Our model ensures that service spending can be monitored and addressed overall rather than simply focusing on a crude hourly rate. It also gives providers of care and support services a financial incentive to achieve maximum independence levels for people using the service and prevents the overreliance on social care as the only solution.
Details by the numbers
Our capitated budget is set based on the known data for that group of individuals. An average weekly service cost per person is calculated and this weekly cost is used as the budget for each individual receiving a home care service. Mears Care builds in an agreed risk-and-reward arrangement, making it within the interests of the service provider, financially as well as morally, to work in a way that reduces the individual’s reliance on home care services over time.
In addition to this model, we also work in other payment-by-results mechanisms that provide a financial incentive to achieving independence outcomes rather than rewarding providers with increased funding for more hours of care. At Mears, everybody wins.