As countries around the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, their focus is on organizing and reconfiguring health service provision, e.g. testing arrangements, home care and increases in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) bed capacity, in order to meet the changing population needs. At the same time, they must guarantee the provision of health care services for non-COVID-19 patients. WHO has developed technical guidance on COVID-19, which can be found here. A key challenge is that responding to the pandemic entails increased costs beyond previously planned budgets for the health sector, and most systems cannot simply absorb these. Governments have to reprioritize and provide additional funding for the Ministry of Health and other purchasers of health services, such as health insurance funds, to respond to the additional and urgent health care needs.
Purchasing arrangements play an important role in facilitating and supporting the adjustments in service provision that are arising due to the pandemic, for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 health services. It is also critical to ensure financial viability of health service providers. Importantly, any changes in the purchasing arrangements must be undertaken in alignment with the service delivery strategy in particular.