Social Impact Bonds: options for primary care financing

Monday, July 6, 2015

Options for Finance in Primary Care in Australia is the latest Health Policy Issues Brief from Professor John Fitzgerald from the University of Melbourne and the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association’s (AHHA) Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research. The brief explores financing options in health care and calls for a closer examination of funding that links objectives to outcomes, including social impact bonds.

“Innovative and outcome-focused models offer potential to address challenges in healthcare funding,” Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive of the AHHA said today. “In order to do so, broader concepts of financing must be acknowledged. Risk, outcomes, performance and responsibility need to be taken into account.”

The brief proposes social impact bonds as a potential approach to meeting the primary health system’s funding needs. Social impact bonds can provide a mechanism that encourages private investors to take an interest in the health sector through incentives for performance while simultaneously allowing governments to mitigate their financial risk. Social impact bonds take an outcome-focused approach and can promote innovation and broader social benefits.

“The role of the new regional primary health organisations (PHNs) in commissioning services provides a great opportunity to think more broadly about how we finance primary care in Australia,” said John Fitzgerald, author of the brief. “This discussion paper goes beyond payment strategies for GPs and explores new financing options from around the world to assist primary care providers and government to improve the health of our community.”

Options for Finance in Primary Care in Australia is available here.

For more information on the AHHA, visit

The Deeble Institute for Health Policy Research is an initiative of the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA), the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services.

Media inquiries:

Alison Verhoeven, Chief Executive, Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association 0403 282 501

John Fitzgerald, Author, 0417 391 982