Innovation in Mental Health Service Delivery in Vancouver, British Columbia


This project will examine an innovative, cost-effective model of service delivery for community mental health services. The program of interest, called the Psychiatric Urgent Care Program, was developed by a group of expert clinicians in collaboration with the Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia (MDABC). MDABC is a not-for-profit agency which offers in-house psychiatric assessments and treatment. The program model is unique in that treatment modality is limited primarily to group medical visits. Preliminary evaluations have revealed positive outcomes for the group-based therapy in terms of client satisfaction and cost-effectiveness.

In addition, a non-traditional funding model has been initiated through collaboration between MDABC and Providence Health Care in Vancouver, BC. Funds that had formerly been a component of the St. Paul’s Hospital Department of Psychiatry budget for the delivery of outpatient services were removed from the St. Paul’s Hospital budget, and provided instead to MDABC under contract to deliver high quality outpatient care through the Psychiatric Urgent Care Program.

The proposed project will examine the transformative potential of this innovative approach to the delivery of mental health services in the community. The project will compare the MDABC innovation to a traditional public service model in terms of the number of patients, flow, and cost of patient service delivery. We will also consider how this service framework may be scaled-up to foster system-level change in service delivery.

Phase I of this project is funded by the Institute for Health System Transformation & Sustainability (IHSTS). 


Mood Disorders Association of British Columbia

Providence Health Care

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Institute for Health System Transformation & Sustainability