Kela and the health and social services reform

A new administrative tier consisting of 21 wellbeing services counties will be created as part of the health and social services reform. Starting from the beginning of 2023, health and social services as well as rescue services will be provided by these counties and the City of Helsinki.

Kela works closely together with the wellbeing services counties in order to ensure the seamless delivery of services to shared customers, while offering its information resources as a knowledge-based management tool at the regional level.

Information about the responsibilities of the wellbeing services counties and the schedule for setting them up is available on the soteuudistus.fi website.

Kela as a partner to the wellbeing services counties

Kela has diverse roles in the health and social services reform:

  • The benefits and services provided by Kela are part of the health and social services.
  • Kela has region-specific statistical and research data which the wellbeing services counties can use to plan services and for decision-making.
  • Kela supports the wellbeing services counties in implementing and updating the Kanta Services.
  • The possibility of breaking up the multi-channel financing model used to fund the benefits available from Kela is being investigated.

Kela’s benefits and services as part of the health and social services

Also after the reform, Kela will continue to operate nationwide as part of the network of services and benefits provided to customers. Many of the benefits available from Kela are closely integrated with health and social services.

Attention all who are involved in preparations for the wellbeing services counties

If you are interested in talking to us about the changes brought by the reform and about working together with Kela, send email to esittelypyynnot@kela.fi. We will forward your message to the appropriate person and get back to you.

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  • Kela pays reimbursements for medical costs, including consultations, examinations and treatments in the private sector, as well as for healthcare-related travel costs.
  • Kela also provides reimbursements for prescription medicines and organises and implements various rehabilitation services for clients of all ages.
  • Social assistance is part of social services and is closely linked with the services provided by the wellbeing services counties.
  • Municipalities and Kela already work closely together for the benefit of their shared customers. That will continue to be the case also with the forthcoming wellbeing services counties and with municipalities.

The above shows that Kela works together with many different organisations on customers’ issues, including the providers of social and health services. The legislation establishing the health and social services reform requires the wellbeing services counties and the municipalities to work closely together both with the central government and with other governmental and third-sector organisations, along with others, as they provide services and benefits to customers. The goal is to ensure the efficient delivery of services to customers. Kela has a key role in providing basic income security and offering services to its customers.

Comments by Marjukka Turunen, 13 October 2021:  Multisectoral cooperation in customer service - Challenges and opportunities (in Finnish).

It is important to continue the strong efforts made to promote collaboration on customers’ issues. To that end, Kela participates in the various reforms, projects and trials outlined in the Government’s programme, in which cross-organisational collaboration in customer service is an increasingly important element. Collaboration in customer service requires changes in law that promote the utilisation of customer information, a common dialogue between the participants, and adequate resources and competencies.

Kela joins the Work Ability Programme with two projects:

In addition to the creation of the wellbeing services counties and the health and social services reform, also underway is a structural reform of the TE Services, in which responsibility for the provision of employment services is planned to be transferred to municipal authorities.

Kela’s information resources as a knowledge-based management tool

Kela has extensive information resources on social security and on the benefits and services provided to residents. Kela makes statistical and research data and cross-regional comparisons available to the wellbeing services counties.

Kela produces information for the central government, the wellbeing services counties, and other regional and national actors. The information is used to provide services and in knowledge-based management.

The role of Kanta Services in information management within the wellbeing services counties

The Kanta Services are part of the digital services offered in the wellbeing services counties and a factor in the management of information related to health and social services.. Kela supports the counties in implementing the Kanta Services. The customer data stored in the Kanta Services are transferred from the current providers of social and health services to the counties’ registries. Also, social and healthcare professionals within the counties require training on the changes due to take place.

Kela will keep developing the Kanta Services further and updating its information resources. Besides healthcare data, also data relating to social services will increasingly be integrated into the Kanta Services. The My Kanta Pages are part of the digital services provided to the residents of wellbeing services counties.

Dismantling the multi-channel financing model for Kela benefits

Social and health services are currently financed in a variety of different ways. Part of the health and social services reform involves investigating and evaluating various funding alternatives which could simplify and break up the existing multi-channel funding model.

This includes investigating and evaluating possibilities for reorganising and implementing the health insurance benefits provided by Kela and other organisations, and analysing whether the share currently contributed by the state towards benefit expenditures should instead be supplied by the wellbeing services counties. It will also be analysed whether some benefits should be discontinued and the funds currently allocated to them made part of the overall funding for the wellbeing services counties. This work is ongoing and will continue in Parliament during the autumn of 2021.

Public comments made by Outi Antila on 21 September 2021: Dismantling the multi-channel model of financing health and social services carries huge and inestimable risks (in Finnish).