The Victorian public health sector comprises a variety of health services varying in size from major providers with budgets in excess of $1 billion to small rural health services with budgets of less than $5 million. The health finance workforce across the sector varies considerably in number and skill level and the scope of capabilities required. There are four broad areas of skills required of this workforce across the domains of:
- reporting and business intelligence
- activity-based management and costing
- technical finance
Clinical costing specialists
Costing specialists are responsible for identifying the inputs used in a hospital and applying the costs of those inputs to patient care – that is, the outputs. In requires expertise in identifying inputs and outputs, guidance for allocating the costs, and considerable complex numerical processing.
Individuals come from a variety of backgrounds and require a mix of finance, health information and information technology skills. Information produced by a costing specialist can improve the decision support functions of providing healthcare such as price setting, funding model development, benchmarking activity, analysis and research into the cost and delivery of healthcare, developing classifications in health, budgeting/planning, resource utilisation review and quality improvement initiatives.
The Australian Health Finance Management Association (AHFMA) is the peak body for health finance professionals, providing education, development, research and networking activities.
The Victorian Clinical Costing User Group is a Victorian health sector group established to provide opportunities for networking and sharing professional learnings.
There are no specific training pathways into this work other than existing financial qualification offerings.
Health finance and clinical costing capability framework
In 2015 the department sponsored work to develop a framework that articulates the capabilities and skills required of this workforce and the value and benefits that a skilled health finance and clinical costing workforce can provide to healthcare services. This work was also able to assist with developing an understanding of the opportunities for future training and development pathways to support a sustainable health finance workforce.