Activity Based Funding for Mental Health - Provision of Technical Advice and Support

Project Type - Funding, Mental health


Health Outcomes International in collaboration with the Brain and Mind Research Institute were engaged by the Mental Health Council of Australia to provide expert advice and support associated with the implementation of Activity Based Funding (ABF) in mental health as outlined in the National Health Reform Agreement.

The development of the Mental Health Council of Australia’s (MHCAs) Action Plan to support the implementation of ABF for mental health was undertaken within a context of significant health reform in Australia. A substantial amount of work is underway to establish more transparent and equitable funding arrangements for public hospitals across Australia that reflect the cost of providing health services. The new funding arrangements encompass a broad range of changes at the national, state and local levels that require consideration of the extent to which the drivers of the cost of delivery health services can be reflected in the national and state level ABF models. 

An integrated consulting approach was used, focussing on building a partnership with the MHCA and mental health service stakeholders to provide ABF technical advice and support to produce the desired project outcomes, with respect to targeted deliverables.  

The key methodological considerations for this project included:

•Development of a partnership model aimed at working with the MHCA, its members and mental health sector stakeholders to systematically work towards the implementation of the national health funding reforms;

  • Establishment of an MHCA ABF Working Group; 
  • Development of a three year work plan and a presentation to the Members’ Policy Forum (MPF) in April 2012;
  • Development of an Action Plan describing how the key goals outlined in the work plan can be achieved by the MHCA; 
  • Discussion paper for the IHPA presenting the MHCA’s views on ABF and seeking financial support to conduct a National Readiness Review; and
  • Preparation of reference/scope for the review.

The MHCA ABF Mental Health Action Plan was formulated to deliver the information and outcomes necessary to implement health funding reforms in accordance with the National Health Reform Agreement and to ensure that the mental health sector actively participates in the developmental activities that are to be undertaken by the IHPA. The action plan identified four key result areas to be addressed by the Australian mental health sector:

  • Support the design and implementation of ABF Mental Health System;
  • Leadership, governance and communication;
  • Benchmarking and performance review; and
  • IT Infrastructure.