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Med Care. 1996 Mar;34(3 Suppl):MS45-54.

Data and information requirements for determining veterans' access to health care.

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  • 1Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Planning, Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, USA.


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is responding to changing requirements for decision-support data by maximizing the value of data contained in VA and non-VA sources. The data are used to answer questions relating to the accessibility and utilization of VA and non-VA health services. Access studies require accurate estimates of the number of persons served and the number of persons who could be served. To derive these population estimates, VA employs census data to develop projections of the veteran population at the national, state, and county levels. Data from many surveys are used to supplement the census data. Access studies also require quantitative and qualitative data on the characteristics of VA and non-VA health care delivery systems at the national, state, and local levels. The Department of Veterans Affairs obtains health care system data from external sources, including the US Department of Health and Human Services, the American Medical Association, and the American Hospital Association, and from internal sources, including VA surveys and the VA administration inpatient and outpatient files. Utilization studies need more detailed patient-level information than access studies. Data elements pertaining to the reason for health care encounters and the services rendered are obtained from survey data, the VA inpatient and outpatient administration files, the national Medicare database, and state Medicaid databases. The Department of Veterans Affairs'decision-support analyses for eligibility reform and health care system reform demonstrate the effectiveness of VA in analyzing data from many sources.

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