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HSR&D 2004 National Meeting Abstracts

1020. Estabilishing a VHA Injury Surveillance System: Injury Incidence and Costs
Denny Werner, MHA

Objectives: Many state and federal agencies use injury surveillance systems to monitor hospital discharges that are associated with serious injuries. The VHA collects data with considerable potential for developing an Injury Surveillance System (ISS). The objective of this study was to determine the utility of using extant administrative datasets to develop an ISS that would identify the injury incidence and expenditures associated with VHA hospitalizations.

Methods: National administrative data from the Decision Support System (DSS) for FY 1998 through 2002 were used to identify discharges for 20 HCUP Clinical Classification System (CCS) classes. These classes are associated with primary discharges for injuries, i.e. ICD-9-CM codes 800 through 999. As an expansion of previous work, veteran populations were compared by incidence and injury classes across varying geographical areas.

Results: During the study period, over 150,000 discharges (1.8 million inpatient days), with a primary injury diagnosis occurred in the VHA system. More than $2 billion in expenditures were incurred for these patients. Considerable variation existed in the incidence and expenditures associated with these injuries across geographic regions and diverse populations.

Conclusions: The utility of using extant administrative datasets to monitor trends by diverse geographic locations in the incidence and expenditures of hospitalizations associated with injuries has been demonstrated.

Impact: An Injury Surveillance System (ISS) would allow for focused patient safety and injury prevention programs across the VHA system. An ISS would identify important injury trends and would promote the efficient allocation of resources in veterans.