Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers

In Central Queensland, News, Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay by Jasmin Midgley

The PHN is approaching the market to engage mental health clinical service providers (Service Providers) across Central Queensland, Wide Bay and the Sunshine Coast to form a Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers (the Panel).

The decision to establish the Panel is due in part to new funding the PHN has received for new services for Mental Health in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

Additionally, the establishment of a Panel of clinical service providers will enable the PHN to be better prepared when other funding becomes available from time to time.

Key dates
  • Information sessions – early November 2019
  • Register on TenderLink (if not already registered) – now to 13 December 2019
  • Pre-qualification questionnaire opens on TenderLink – mid-December 2019
  • Pre-qualification questionnaire closes – late January 2020
  • Panel formed – March 2020
What were the information sessions about?
  • To inform you about the PHN’s role in commissioning clinical mental health services for communities;
  • To provide background on the Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers and what the opportunity means for both organisations, and sole practitioners;
  • To provide an overview of the PHN’s process to identify suitable mental health providers to deliver clinical services.
What is a Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers?

A Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers is a panel of providers who have the essential skills, experience and quality of practice sufficient to bid for specific programs. The PHN has successfully used this approach for commissioning programs in the past.

In 2018, the PHN formed a Psychosocial Panel of providers, and those who met the requirements then entered into a Master Service Agreement with the PHN. The Psychosocial Panel was called on to bid for National Psychosocial Services funding as well as transition funding for other psychosocial services.

Based on the same methodology, the PHN is establishing the Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers.

As an example, once the Panel is established, the PHN will first invite interested panel members to participate in either a request for quote or request for proposal for the new funding for Mental Health in-reach into Residential Aged Care Facilities. This type of process will also apply to other or subsequent MH funding from time to time.

Why is the PHN going out to market to establish a Panel of Mental Health Clinical Services Providers?

The PHN is establishing the Panel in response to feedback from Service Providers regarding procurement, namely, that each time funding arises, service providers need to go through a fresh procurement process to be selected, repeating basic organisational questions.

Establishing the Panel will mean organisations only have to provide essential information specific to the particular piece(s) of work, when bidding for specific funding.

It will also mean the PHN can act faster when it is tasked with establishing new or additional Commonwealth mental health programs, meaning new services get to communities quicker.

Furthermore, the Panel will also allow smaller providers to tender for services, to enable more locally-led solutions, particularly in hard-to-reach areas. This will help to maintain local knowledge and social capital, and improve access.

What is the first funding stream that will be opened up to the Panel to bid for?

The PHN will request proposals from interested Panel members to deliver services under the Commonwealth funded Psychological Treatment Services for people with mental illness in Residential Aged Care Facilities initiative (MH in RACF Initiative).

The Request for Proposal will be released shortly after the Panel is finalised (approx. March 2020) and will not repeat questions asked during the Panel pre-qualification process.

The Department of Health’s information sheet can be found here.

What should I do first if I/my organisation wants to participate?

The PHN uses an online tendering portal called “TenderLink” (tenderlink.com/ourphn/).

To access this portal, bidders need to be registered, through the link above or by navigating through the PHN’s website via Opportunities > Commissioning > Tenders.

Please ensure you are registered in TenderLink by 13 December 2019, to ensure you receive notifications about the opportunity to apply to be on the Panel.

Please note: We recommend you do not use Internet Explorer, but instead use an alternative such as Firefox, to ensure all functions are enabled.

If I am already contracted with the PHN, do I need to complete the pre-qualifying questionnaire to be considered for the Panel?

All Service Providers, currently commissioned by the PHN, should still apply if they wish to be considered for future services involving mental health clinical service provision (during the term of the Panel) and in accordance with the terms of the Master Services Agreement.

We acknowledge that we already have strong relationships and understanding of these organisations’ capacity and capability.

However, the potential scope of services that might be required in the future may be broader than those that are currently commissioned (e.g. Residential Aged Care Facilities services).

If my organisation/I am invited to be on the Panel, what happens next? Will I receive new funding?

First, you/your organisation will be asked to sign a Master Service Agreement (MSA) with the PHN.

A Master Service Agreement (MSA) is a set of contractual terms and conditions with the PHN under which the PHN can later issue work orders to Panel members for specific work.

The PHN may, at its discretion and within the terms of the MSA, approach the Panel for requests for quotes/proposals, call for limited tenders within the Panel, or issue work orders.

Being a member of the Panel removes the requirement for the Panel members to complete the quality assurance components of the procurement process for subsequent pieces of new work that they may wish to bid for.

While Panel providers will be the preferred providers for the PHN, offers of work are not guaranteed.

If my organisation/I am invited to be on the Panel, for how long will we/I be eligible to receive Work Orders from the PHN?

For the agreed term of the MSA, which is anticipated to be until 30 June 2022.

Should I apply if I am a sole practitioner or have a small practice?

Yes, sole practitioners can apply.

The PHN is working on structuring the process so that it is suited to both sole practitioners and organisations.

While any practice that is larger than one individual will need to undertake the same process as larger mental health organisations, special consideration will be given to those providers (small or large) that service hard-to-reach areas.

If I am a sole practitioner, do I need to answer all the same questions as organisations?

The PHN is working on structuring the process so that it is suitable for both organisations and sole practitioners; for example, the context of the clinical quality questionnaire will be adapted and shortened to suit sole practitioners.

To enable this, sole practitioners will need to select a different form once they commence the process in TenderLink.

What will we be asked in the Panel pre-qualification process?

You will need to provide information about the mental health services your organisation offers. This will include questions about your workforce; where you offer services, how they are delivered and to whom.

The pre-qualification process also includes a multiple-choice clinical quality self-assessment questionnaire, and asks you to provide information on other indicators of organisational quality such as accreditation, years of experience, primary funding streams and referral sources.

You will also be required to provide written answers to a small number of qualitative questions around your approach to clinical care, organisational governance, and cultural safety.

How will the pre-qualification questionnaire be evaluated?

Evaluation is based on a mix of indicators of organisational quality, maturity of clinical governance systems, and experience. Special consideration will also be given to providers that operate in hard-to-reach areas.

Full details of the requirements and the conditions of participation will be provided once the pre-qualifying questionnaire is released.

Can I apply if my organisation/I only service(s) one LGA or sub-region within that LGA?

Yes

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