National Mental Health Activity Based Costing Study

Project Type - Mental health, Service costing


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.

The key components of the consortium’s approach to the study included the following which culminated in the submission of a Final Report, Study Infrastructure and Mental Health Costs dataset:

  1. Formulation of the study methodology which was informed by consultations with key stakeholder informants and a documentation and literature review and resulted in the submission of a discussion paper detailing the study site sampling strategy and broad level costing methodology.
  2. Development of the study infrastructure to ensure the effective conduct of the study. This included the development and maintenance of a study website, formulation of a data request specification, detailed costing methodology, data quality assurance framework, site implementation plan, Mental Health Costing Guidelines and study database.
  3. Piloting and refinement of the study infrastructure. This included the selection of study sites, a feasibility assessment and a two-day training and development workshop.
  4. Roll out and monitoring of data collection. This involved study set up site visits, the provision of site support through the monitoring phase, monitoring through two monthly data extraction, the facilitation of a number of jurisdictional based workshops and study close out site visits.