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Objective – The objectives of the paper are the following: i) to describe the activities and the costs of care for patients with severe mental disorders; ii) to evaluate the association between costs, clients' characteristics and outcome measures. Methods – Patients were administered the following instruments twice a year: BPRS, GAF, HoNOS, DAS II, VSSS-54, QPF. Use of psychiatric services and other resources were collected for each patient over a two-year period. Results – The average yearly cost per patient is Euro 3,300. First-contact patients cost twice as much as patients already in treatment. Service costs are associated to patients' age, marital status and working condition. Annual costs are also associated with the initial score of BPRS, GAF, DAS and HoNOS. In multiple regression analysis age, initial BPRS and DAS scores, as well as being a first-contact patient, are strongly positively associated to annual costs. Conclusions – These results highlight the importance of monitoring routine activities of psychiatric services and the flow of funds for psychiatric care in the Italian public health system.
Declaration of Interest: the research project was funded by a grant from the Lombardy Region Health Authority.
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