Health Services Research & Development

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2007 HSR&D National Meeting Abstract

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National Meeting 2007

2006 — Combining Veterans' Health Care Data from VHA and Medicare: Methodological Issues and Research Examples

Mallin K (VA Information Resource Center, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital) , Koelling KA (VA Information Resource Center, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital), Jia H (VA RORC and VA Stroke QUERI, Gainesville VAMC), Kwon S (VA RORC and VA Stroke QUERI, Gainesville VAMC), Stroupe KT (VA Information Resource Center, Edward Hines Jr VA Hospital)

Workshop Objectives:
A more complete picture of veterans’ health status and health care utilization can be obtained by combining VHA data with Medicare claims data and demographic data than can be achieved by examining VHA data alone. This introductory workshop will provide participants with an overview of Medicare data available and discuss methods for combining and utilizing these data. After attending this session, participants will be familiar with VHA, Medicare, and US Renal Data System (USRDS) databases that allow them to track veterans’ health and healthcare utilization across multiple systems of care. Participants will also understand methodological issues that must be addressed to use these data, including procedures to link patient-level data and procedures to create comparable categories of demographic information, co-morbidities and health care utilization across these databases. Additionally, workshop participants will learn how to find information about these data on the VIReC website and how to request access to these data.

An overview of VHA inpatient and outpatient data, Medicare claims data, and USRDS data will be presented. Panelists will discuss the following methodological issues using examples from three research projects: Data Linkage - Matching VHA and Medicare data using the robust data linkage algorithm developed by Fleming; Demographic Data Issues - Comparison of race and ethnic categories in VHA and Medicare; Capturing Disease and Health Care Utilization - Defining categories of user groups; Methods for capturing co-morbidities in VHA, Medicare, and USRDS; Combining health care utilization data from VHA and Medicare. Examples will be presented from research studies using these data for specific chronic disease groups and for the entire veteran population.

Target Audience:
Health services researchers using VA and non-VA data, especially researchers new to the VA and/or to VA data and information systems.

Assumed Audience Familiarity with Topic:
No prior familiarity with VHA or non-VA data sources will be assumed. However, because methodological issues will be discussed, researchers already familiar with these data will benefit from participation.