Developing an Australian Mental Health Care Classification

The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) has developed draft Version 1.0 of a new classification system for mental health services – the Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC) (link is external).

Mental Health Australia has been assisting IHPA to engage the mental health sector in the ongoing development of the classification. 

“what services are provided – to whom, when, and at what cost?”

Classification of services enables better planning, benchmarking, accountability and analysis of the resources required to provide efficient and effective services. A comprehensive classification system, will enable accurate data to be collected to build the information infrastructure needed to fund, deliver and report on mental health care.

Classifying services is important for ALL of the mental health sector

At present, there is no single classification for mental health services, instead there are a number of different data collection systems and classifications, which are applied depending on a number of factors including the setting of treatment and at what level within the health system the treatment is administered.

It is IHPA’s intention that into the future the classification will cover all mental health care services, requiring collection of data from settings including admitted, non-admitted, public community mental health care and community managed/non-government organisations

What are the benefits to the mental health care community?

The AMHCC aims to improve the way that mental health care services can be classified, counted and costed, and contribute to the sector’s understanding of what, where and how services are provided.

The development of the AMHCC is in the interests of all providers and consumers of mental health care, including governments, private providers, community managed mental health services and consumers and carers. A well designed and implemented classification will provide more accurate and consistent data about where resources are applied, increase transparency and enable performance benchmarking across similar services.

The development of a new classification presents a unique opportunity to address critical information gaps in mental health care data by including the full range of mental health care services in the classification framework.

Feedback on draft Version 1.0 of the AMHCC

It is essential that all stakeholders from across the mental health sector provide input into the development of this new classification system. Current information infrastructure arrangements are heavily focused on hospital-provided care, necessitating the need for a wide range of stakeholders from the mental health sector to understand the work of IHPA and provide advice and feedback to develop a truly representative data collection system.

Needs Assessment Report

During 2014 and 2015 Mental Health Australia assisted IHPA to engage the mental health sector in the development of the new AMHCC. Mental Health Australia’s work with IHPA included consultations with mental health stakeholders about how the AMHCC can reflect the full range of services provided through the community managed mental health sector. These consultations informed Mental Health Australia’s Needs Assessment, prepared on IHPA’s behalf. This report can be viewed here

Consultation opportunities

IHPA conducted a second period of consultation on the development of the AMHCC in late 2015. While this consultation process has closed, you can still look at the paperwork at:

How the AMHCC has been developed

In January 2015 IHPA conducted the first round of consultation on the development of the AMHCC. This consultation sought the mental health care sector’s views on a proposed structure and approach to the development of the classification. IPHA’s first consultation paper provided information on the role of IHPA and how and why the classification has been developed.

Mental Health Australia’s submission to this first round of consultation can be found here. The submission was prepared to both address the concerns of Mental Health Australia in relation to the development of the AMHCC and to inform a diverse range of members and stakeholders on some of the more technical and detailed aspects involved in building the classification. 

The key documents below provide stakeholders with:

  • fact sheets for quick reference on the stages of development of the AMHCC.
  • a background briefing paper delivered at the Mental Health Australia Policy Forum, October 2014, to update members on the progress with, and issues relating to the development and application of ABF and the AMHCC.
  • an issues paper developed in 2012 which raises important foundational questions and documents the policy context regarding Activity Based Funding (ABF) and the AMHCC
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