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Article Abstract

Online ISSN: 1099-176X    Print ISSN: 1091-4358
The Journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics
Volume 3, Issue 2, 2000. Pages: 77-81

Published Online: 23 Nov 2000

Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

 Research Article
Organization and financing of mental health care in Poland
Wanda Langiewicz *, Elzbieta Slupczynska-Kossobudzka
Department of Health Care Organization, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sobieskiego 1/9, 02-957 Warsaw, Poland

*Correspondence to Wanda Langiewicz, Department of Health Care Organization, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Sobieskiego 1/9, 02-957 Warsaw, Poland.


Organization of care:
Health care is provided to patients with mental disorders by the state health care facilities as well as by social help agencies. Mental health care services are provided mostly by mental health facilities and partly by primary care units. Outpatient clinics, separate for psychiatric patients and substance abusers, are the most numerous mental health care units, amounting to a total of 1120. Intermediate care facilities include 110 day hospitals, 23 community mobile teams and ten hostels. The number of hospital beds amounts to 31913, i.e. 8.3 beds per 10000 population. 80% of beds are located in mental hospitals.

Trends of development:
The trends in mental health care development are outlined in the Mental Health Programme and accompanying documents accepted by the Minister of Health and Social Welfare. The programme defines specific goals to be achieved by the year 2005 in the primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of mental disorders. In the domain of mental health care accessibility the most important goals are the following: a significant reduction in the number of beds in large mental hospitals, a marked (nearly threefold) rise in the number of beds in psychiatric wards at general hospitals and a significant increase in the number of community-based forms of care (e.g. a fourfold rise in the number of day hospitals).

Financing of care:
Before 1999, the health care system was financed from the state budget and the health care spendings were subject to a political auction each year. Allocation of funds among hospitals and health care centres was based on the total previous year budgetary spendings of particular facilities and did not take into account a detailed cost analysis. Such a financing approach, although giving a feeling of a relative financial safety, did not encourage health care facilities to introduce an organizational flexibility and to expand the scope of their services. In psychiatry, it manifested itself in a very slow development of some community psychiatry forms (mostly day hospitals, mobile community teams and hostels). The Health Care Institutions Act has created a legal framework for the financial management of health care units in their new, independent form. Conditions for health care financing through regional sickness funds were thus created. The financing is currently based on contracts made by sickness funds with health care facilities for specific health services. Both the quantity and price of services should be mutually negotiated.
Some simplified measures of services offered were used during the first insurance financing year. In mental hospitals and day hospitals it was a person-day; in out-patient care it was a visit. Both cost indicators were aggregated, including all the components present so far in the functioning a given unit. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.