Abu Dhabi: From this month onwards, healthcare facilities providing poor quality care and services in the emirate of Abu Dhabi could have their funding cut unless they meet quality standards.
The move is part of the Pay-for-Quality programme by the emirate’s health regulator, the Health Authority Abu Dhabi (Haad), which links payments for healthcare providers to the quality standards they maintain.
Facilities that score the lowest on the Haad’s rankings will now be informed about deficiencies in the quality of care, and strongly incentivised to correct them. Failing this, the level of remuneration provided to the facility by insurance companies could be reduced, Haad representatives told Gulf News.
According to the Haad’s statement, the aim of the programme is to provide positive reinforcement to good-quality healthcare providers, while discouraging poor performance.
“The objective metrics used to define quality in the sector are based on international best practice, and the system will be under constant supervision and evolution,” said Dr Maha Barakat, director general at the Haad.
“One of the features that makes this programme unique is that quality scores will be dynamic and change from month to month [based on] performance, so healthcare providers who promptly correct deficiencies will improve their quality score in the subsequent month,” she added.
According to a circular distributed by the Haad to healthcare facilities, a prompt resolution of poor quality standards therefore means that the provider will not face any reductions in payments in the subsequent month.
As reported by Gulf News, healthcare facilities in the emirate have been ranked under the Jawda — Abu Dhabi Healthcare Quality Index since 2014. The index rates healthcare provision in four main areas, including patient safety, effectiveness of care, timeliness of service delivery, and the level of patient-centric treatment provided.
Last May (2016), the Haad announced improvements in the timeliness of care across the emirate’s 41 hospitals, with 87 per cent of the hospitals meeting their patient waiting time targets — one of the biggest concerns in the past.
Haad officials had announced at the launch of Jawda that healthcare facility rankings would eventually be published so that residents could make better informed choices when seeking healthcare, and also as a means to encourage providers to amp up quality standards. Indicators used to compile the rankings are also being collected by insurance providers, including by The National health Insurance Company — Daman. But the rankings themselves have not been released so far.
There are also about 800 healthcare facilities in the emirate, including clinics, hospitals, fertility centres and rehabilitation facilities, and it is not yet clear whether they will all be assessed under Pay-for-Quality.
Still, the Haad statement billed the Pay-for-Quality programme as the next stage of healthcare reform, and Dr Barakat said it was a move that would make Abu Dhabi “a world leader in quality improvement”.