HERC Bulletin - June 2017
Seminars and CoursesShould the VA make or buy health services?
Seminars and Courses
Join HERC on June 21, 2017 at 11:00am Pacific /2:00pm Eastern for the cyberseminar “Comparison of Quality, Cost, and Accessibility of Elective Coronary Revascularization Provided by Veterans Health Administration and Community Care Hospitals.” HERC economist Paul Barnett will compare VHA care to services provided by community hospitals under contract to VHA by examining the trade-offs between quality, costs, and accessibility of elective cardiac revascularization.
Register for the seminar: http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/cyberseminars/catalog-upcoming-series.cfm?seriessort=hmcs
Basic fact about services of the Veterans Health Administration is available from public information portals.
The easily accessed sources provide basic information about the cost, volume of care, and number of patients served by VHA. For example, they report that VHA provided care to 5.9 million veterans in the 2015 federal fiscal year, at a cost of $65.6 billion. Types of care are also described: VHA provided 92.4 million outpatient visits, and 707.4 thousand hospital admissions in the 2014 federal fiscal year, when 9.1 million veterans were enrolled to receive VHA care.
The public portal with information about VA services is: https://www.va.gov/vetdata/
There are a number of databases described in the VA open data portal:https://www.va.gov/data/
Not all of the 800 datasets that are described are open for public use.
Labor Cost data updated for FY15 and FY16
HERC’s labor cost dataset has been updated for Fiscal Year 2015 and 2016. Estimates of labor cost are needed for economic evaluations, including cost-effectiveness analysis, budget impact analysis, evaluations of efficiency, and in considerations of the relative advantage of making or purchasing a service. There are two sources of labor costs at the Veterans Health Administration: the Financial Management System (FMS) and the Managerial Cost Accounting System Account Level Budgeter Cost Center (ALBCC). HERC has created a dataset with the total labor costs, workload (hours), and hourly labor costs for each data source, by Budget Object Code and fiscal year.
The labor cost dataset and corresponding guidebook are available on the HERC website (intranet only).
Medicare Wage Index for VA Facilities Updated
HERC has combined data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the VHA Support Services Center (VSSC) to create a Medicare wage index for VA facilities.The Medicare wage index is a tool researchers can use to adjust their cost calculations for wage differences across the country. The guidebook and accompanying Excel have been updated through 2017.
Resources on the Economics of Implementation
Resources and tools for conducting economic analyses for implementation projects are available on the new HERC web page “Economics of Implementation.” This web page introduces the Quality Enhancement Research Initiative (QUERI), and outlines how HERC supports QUERI economic analyses. Readers can learn more about the steps to conducting economic analyses for implementation projects and find resources on the economics of implementation.
HERC Staff Update
HERC Director Todd Wagner has received an HSR&D Research Career Scientist (RCS) award. Dr. Wagner’s three year RCS research plan focuses on health information, value and efficiency, and access. Through these aims Dr. Wagner and team will identify high value care and create incentives that reward the delivery of high value care.