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Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program – evaluation scope The Mental Health Nurse Incentive Program (MHNIP) commenced on 1 July 2007 as part of the Council of Australian Governments mental health reform package. The program provides funding for eligible organisations that engage mental health nurses to assist in the provision of coordinated clinical care for people with severe and persistent mental illnesses to keep them well in the community and reduce hospitalisation. The Department of Health and Ageing has commissioned an external evaluation of the program to assess the effectiveness and appropriateness of the program and to assist in determining future funding needs. The evaluation, to be undertaken by Healthcare Management Advisors, commenced in late 2011 and is expected to report in September 2012. The evaluation of the MHNIP will consider the following: 1. Patient outcomes - changes in patient outcomes under MHNIP, including changes in Health of the Nation Outcomes Scales (HoNOS) data, hospital admission rates, employment activity rates and social/ educational participation rates. - mental health nurse, general practitioner, psychiatrist and other relevant health professional views on the extent MHNIP has contributed to improvements in patient care. - the impact of the program structure in achieving MHNIP objectives. - connections with the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA)’s Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) or other similar programs to assist patient linkages with community support and social connection activities. 2. Program uptake - barriers to patient entry to the MHNIP. - drivers for mental health nurse/organisation entry/exit from the program. - reasons for registered organisations’ failure to commence activities under the program. 3. Demand profile - current anticipated demand profile. - uptake of program via geographic and target patient analysis, and gaps in this uptake. - estimated maximum funding requirements for the MHNIP based on all eligible patients receiving access. 4. Cost benefits - overall cost benefit of the MHNIP on the health system, and drivers of this benefit. - overall cost and benefits on the health system of extending the program to the private hospital setting. 5. Program structure - appropriateness and effectiveness of the payment structure. - effectiveness and ease of use of the MHNIP program guidelines. - linkages with other Australian Government funded programs, including: Access to Psychiatrists, Psychologists and General Practitioners through the MBS (Better Access) initiative. Better Outcomes in Mental Health Care (Better Outcomes) initiative. Access to Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) initiative. Mental Health Services in Rural and Remote Areas initiative. 6. Compliance - effectiveness of current compliance controls for patient/ mental health nurse eligibility to the MHNIP.
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