Cost accounting is an information subsystem within the accounting records system and its primary task is to provide information on costs. It is also a process of recognising, accumulating, transforming, presenting and interpreting cost information for the purpose of carrying out assessments and making decisions by the information holder, as well as determining the costs associated with the conducted activities.
Pursuant to Article 31lc(6) of the Act on healthcare services financed from public funds, “The healthcare service providers who have concluded an agreement on the provision of healthcare services are obliged to observe the cost accounting standard” with the exception of the following healthcare service providers:
- exempt from the obligation to keep full accounting records in line with the Accounting Act of 29 September 1994;
- providing healthcare services exclusively in the field of primary healthcare;
- supplying medical devices.
The main objectives of the Regulation:
- the model of the cost accounting standard is aimed at organising the healthcare providers’ cost accounting without interfering in individual practices resulting from the specific nature of the provided healthcare services;
- imposing an obligation on healthcare providers to separate their treatment activities from their other activities in their accounting and bookkeeping systems;
- separating the cost centres (CCs) depending on the type of conducted business activity and the type of provided healthcare services;
- systematising the CCs by assigning a function code and a code characterising the specialisation of the organisational unit, without the need to include them in the account number
- unifying cost accounting by type;
- determining the method of cost allocation in a subject-functional system, along with calculation of the CC production cost;
- determining the procedure valuation methods;
- improving the tariff setting process without imposing detailed solutions which, due to the size of the target audience, are characterised by great diversity.
The implementation and use of the cost accounting standard means the same method of recording and allocating costs, which translates into higher quality of the data provided to the Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Tariff System and into a faster tariff system process. It is also an excellent management tool for cost monitoring in a healthcare entity and comparison with other healthcare providers.
Advantages of implementing the cost accounting standard:
- the same method of identifying, collecting, processing, presenting, and interpreting information on the costs of healthcare services – possibility of benchmarking with other healthcare providers and comparing healthcare entities in terms of economic indicators;
- proper separation of cost centres in terms of basic medical activity, auxiliary medical activity, and non-medical activity as well as management – this will allow resources to be actually assigned to individual cost centres, leading to their effective use;
- cost distribution by type of activity results from the statutory purpose of the Regulation on the acquisition of information on the costs of healthcare services – each type of activity means
- separate revenues, so costs should also be broken down by type of activity;
- acquisition of management information that helps the Directorate/Management make current decisions regarding the allocation of financial resources within units and the preparation of financial and investment plants – acquisition of information on profitability for individual cost centres, possibility of current analysis of cost structure and dynamics;
- acquisition of an effective management and controlling tool for founding bodies and forming entities;
- improvements to the healthcare service tariff system process, which will translate into a measurable economic effect – higher revenues by increasing the valuation of services reported by entities as ones generating losses;
- better economic knowledge of all unit’s employees – this will lead to greater awareness and better economy of consumption of materials, equipment, drugs, etc.