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The Australian mental health system: an economic overview and some research issues

Williams, Ruth F. G and Doessel, Darrel P (2008) The Australian mental health system: an economic overview and some research issues. International Journal of Mental Health Systems, 2 (4). ISSN 1752-4458

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Abstract

This article is concerned with the key economic characteristics of Australia's mental health system. First, some brief conceptual and empirical descriptions are provided of Australia's mental health services, both as a total system, and of its two principal components, viz. public psychiatric institutions and private psychiatry services. Expenditures on public psychiatric hospitals clearly demonstrate the effect of deinstitutionalisation. Data from 1984 on private practice psychiatry indicate that per capita utilisation rates peaked in 1996 and have since fallen. Generally, since 1984 gross fees have not risen. However, for both utilisation and fees, there is evidence (of a statistical kind) that there are significant differences between the states of Australia, in these two variables (utilisation and fees). Emphasis is also placed on the economic incentives that arise from health insurance and the heterogeneous nature of mental illness. The effects of these incentives are regarded as by-products of the health insurance mechanism; and another effect, "unmet need" and "met non-need", is a somewhat unique problem of an informational kind. Discussion of many of these issues concludes on a somewhat negative note, e.g. that no empirical results are available to quantify the particular effect that is discussed. This is a manifestation of the lacunae of economic studies of the mental health sector.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: ResPubID15650. mental health system, mental health sector, economic, utilisation, fees, health insurance, psychiatric hospitals, private practices, Australia, Australian
Subjects: Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Economics and Finance
FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
SEO Classification > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health)
FOR Classification > 1117 Public Health and Health Services
Related URLs:
Depositing User: VUIR
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2011 05:38
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2015 04:51
URI: http://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/4050
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Citations in Scopus: 5 - View on Scopus

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