National mental health activity based costing study

From 2013 to 2015, HOI, as part of a consortium, was engaged by the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) to undertake a mental health costing study to inform the development of the Australian Mental Health Care classification system.

The study was conducted over a six-month period at a sample of 25 Australian public hospitals, community mental health services, and at a minimum three private hospitals. IHPA specified that the sample was to include a mix of consumer and service locations to ensure a representative set of costs are collected.

Key consultancy activities included: documentation and literature review; submission of a discussion paper detailing the study site sampling strategy and broad level costing methodology; development of the study infrastructure, including a study website, a data request specification, detailed costing methodology, data quality assurance framework, site implementation plan, Mental Health Costing Guidelines, and study database; selection of study sties; feasibility assessment; two-day training and development workshop; site visits; site support through the monitoring phase; two-monthly data extraction and analysis; and the submission of a Final Report, Study Infrastructure and Mental Health Costs dataset.

The project delivered a final report and accompanying robust patient/client level dataset that was representative of mental health services provided in Australia that included characteristics of the clients/patients and measures of the costs of providing mental health services. IHPA subsequently released a new classification for mental health, known as the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC).

Further details about the AMHCC can be found here