May 1999

Grant Results

National Program

Information for State Health Policy

SUMMARY

From 1992 to 1997, the Arkansas Health Resources Commission (formerly the Arkansas Interagency Working Group or IWG) and the Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform identified health information key to health care reform in the state.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Information for State Health Policy national program.

Key Results

  • Under Phase I, the Arkansas Interagency Working Group identified and ranked 34 separate state health policy issues in two major areas:
    • Fiscal issues (health insurance reforms, cost containment, and financing indigent health care).
    • Sexual consequences (teenage pregnancy, infant mortality and low birthweight babies, and sexually transmitted diseases).
  • Under Phase II, project staff:
    • Developed and implemented (with legislative support) a Hospital Discharge Data System.
    • Conducted a Family Health Survey of randomly selected households.
    • Enhanced Medicaid claims data.
    • Disseminated its work through newsletters, reports, briefings and public use files.

Funding
RWJF supported this project through two grants totaling $797,834.

 See Grant Detail & Contact Information
 Back to the Table of Contents


THE PROBLEM

The project's major focus was to provide information that can be used by state policymakers to address fiscal issues (health insurance reforms, cost containment, and financing indigent health care); and sexual consequences (teenage pregnancy, infant mortality and low birthweight babies, and sexually transmitted diseases).

 Back to the Table of Contents


THE PROJECT

Hospital Discharge Data System. Legislation passed in 1995 mandated the creation of a hospital discharge data system and provided state support for it. Subsequently, regulations for the hospital discharge data system were promulgated, data submission guidelines were developed and implemented, and data collection was initiated.

As of mid-1998, the InfoSHP project had collected 1997 data from the majority of the state's hospitals. By law, data that could identify a patient, provider, facility, or plan is classified as confidential. To help them design data reports for Arkansas, InfoSHP project staff collected hospital discharge data system-based reports from other states.

Family Health Survey. Under InfoSHP, Arkansas fielded a Family Health Survey from fall 1996 to spring 1998. The survey's sample was a random cross-section of Arkansas households, about 200 every month. It collected information from households on health insurance, service use, and access to services.

Although statistics on the uninsured can be computed from the Web site, the state has not yet completed analyzing the survey data. The future of the survey depends in part on development of a similar survey at the national level that will support state-level estimates (the National Center for Health Statistics' State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey).

Enhanced Medicaid Claims Analyses. Arkansas' InfoSHP project sought to better use available Medicaid data for program and policy analyses. InfoSHP received Medicaid claims data and conducted some limited analyses. Since that time, the Medicaid agency has acquired an executive information system to support analyses within the agency.

Institutionalization

Four of the InfoSHP positions became permanent state positions that will be used to continue work on the hospital discharge data system and other surveys and to continue dissemination activities, including further development of the Web site.

 Back to the Table of Contents


KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Under InfoSHP, the state enhanced its information infrastructure by collecting new data (e.g., the hospital discharge data system) and improved its capacity to disseminate information (e.g., through the Web site). In addition, the Center for Health Statistics gained visibility through project activities and grew in size.

Communications

Arkansas has communicated information through press releases, newsletters (Arkansas Health Counts and Arkansas Health Risks), reports, briefings, an Internet homepage (established at http://health.state.ar.us, now sending visitors to www.healthyarkansas.com), and public use files. (See the Bibliography.)

 Back to the Table of Contents


LESSONS LEARNED FOR OTHER STATES

  1. It is possible, even in small states with low demand for data, for legislators to see the value of data and support data initiatives. In Arkansas, the legislature supported the creation of a hospital discharge data system.
  2. Projects in states such as Arkansas, where data are not widely available and not routinely used for policymaking, initially may find it more effective to focus not just on improvements in data infrastructure but also on dissemination of useful products, to stimulate demand for data among policymakers.
  3. States need not only to secure positions, but also to recruit qualified staff and keep the positions filled so that timely analyses may be completed.

 Back to the Table of Contents


GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Arkansas Opportunity Project: Information for State Health Policy

Grantee

State of Arkansas Department of Health - Center for Health Statistics (Little Rock,  AR)

  • Phase I:
    Amount: $ 147,834
    Dates: March 1992 to September 1993
    ID#:  019740

  • Phase II:
    Amount: $ 650,000
    Dates: November 1993 to October 1997
    ID#:  022864

Contact

Project Director: Douglas R. Murray
(501) 661-2633
dmurray@mail.doh.state.ar.us

Web Site

http://www2.umdnj.edu/ishppweb/arkansas.htm

 Back to the Table of Contents


Authorized by the Board of Trustees in February 1990 for $7,322,278

BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Current as of date of this report; as provided by grantee organization; not verified by RWJF; items not available from RWJF.)

Reports

Murray, Douglas R. "A Hospital Discharge Data System Based On UB-92," position paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform, January 13, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Murray, Douglas R. "Establishment of a State Health Data Organization," position paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform, February 8, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Murray, Douglas R. "Outpatient Data," discussion paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform at the request of the chairman, March 21, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Murray, Douglas R. "Physician Office Data," discussion paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform at the request of the chairman, March 21, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Murray, Douglas R. "Health Facilities Surveys," position paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform, May 5, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Murray, Douglas R. "Health Professions Licensing Surveys: Improved Data Processing and Analysis for Health Policy," position paper submitted to The Governor's Task Force on Health Care Reform, May 5, 1994. (Included in Health Care Reform in Arkansas: A Report to the Governor and Legislature.)

Newsletters

Arkansas Health Counts, quarterly newsletter.

Arkansas Health Risks, occasional newsletter.

Presentations and Testimony

Douglas R. Murray. "Information for State Health Policy: Where We Stand In Arkansas," presented to Arkansas Health Resources Commission, March 29, 1994.

Douglas R. Murray. "Health Information Systems: The Priorities for Arkansas," invited presentation to Data-Driven Quality Improvement in an Evolving Health Care System, a conference sponsored by the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care (Peer Review Organization), May 13, 1994.

Douglas R. Murray. "Information for State Health Policy: The Priorities for Arkansas," invited presentation to Joint Interim Committee on Public Health, Welfare, and Labor of the Arkansas State Legislature, May 19, 1994.

World Wide Web Sites

Web site is at www2.umdnj.edu/ishppweb/arkansas.htm.

 Back to the Table of Contents


Report prepared by: Robert Mahon
Edited by: Karin Gillespie
Edited by: Marian Bass
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Program Officer: James Knickman

Most Requested