A review of economic evaluations of community mental health care

Evan Roberts, Jacqueline Cumming, Katherine Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The authors review the methodology and findings of economic evaluations of 42 community mental health care programs reported in the English-language literature between 1979 and 2003. There were three substantial methodological problems in the literature: costs were often not completely specified, the quality of econometric analysis was often low, and most evaluations failed to integrate cost and health outcome information. Well-conducted research shows that care in the community dominates hospital in-patient care, achieving better outcomes at lower or equal cost. It is less clear what types of community programs are most cost-effective. Future research should focus on identifying which types of community care are most cost effective and at what level of intensity they are most effective.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)503-543
Number of pages41
JournalMedical Care Research and Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Community mental health care
  • Cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Economic evaluation
  • Literature review


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