Below is the abstract for this study:

Objective: Examine cost differences between Consumer Operated Service Programs (COSPs) as possibly determined by a) size of program, b) use of volunteers and other donated resources, c) cost-of-living differences between program locales, d) COSP model applied, and e) delivery system used to implement the COSP model. Methods: As part of a larger evaluation of COSP, data on operating costs, enrollments, and mobilization of donated resources were collected for eight programs representing three COSP models (drop-in centers, mutual support, and education/advocacy training). Because the 8 programs were operated in geographically diverse areas of the US, costs were examined with and without adjustment for differences in local cost of living. Because some COSPs use volunteers and other donated resources, costs were measured with and without these resources being monetized. Scale of operation also was considered as a mediating variable for differences in program costs. Results: Cost per visit, cost per consumer per quarter, and total program cost were calculated separately for funds spent and for resources donated for each COSP. Differences between COSPs in cost per consumer and cost per visit seem better explained by economies of scale and delivery system used than by cost-of-living differences between program locations or COSP model. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: Given others’ findings that different COSP models produce little variation in service effectiveness, minimize service costs by maximizing scale of operation while using a delivery system that allows staff and facilities resources to be increased or decreased quickly to match number of consumers seeking services. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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