VA Cost Data Overview
Researchers undertaking economic analysis have a variety of datasets to choose from. The two most commonly used encounter-level cost datasets are the Managerial Cost Accounting System (MCA; formerly the Decision Support System (DSS)), and the HERC average cost datasets. Most cost datasets can be found within VHA’s Corporate Data Warehouse (CDW) – a national data repository from VHA clinical and administrative systems.
Researchers will often need to access utilization data in combination with cost data. Here, we provide a table with links to commonly used data sources for VA cost and utilization. Information about additional data sources can be found on the VHA Data Portal: http://vaww.vhadataportal.med.va.gov/DataSources/DataSourcesOverview.aspx (VA intranet only).
Visit the VHA Data Portal for details about accessing these data for research or operations projects: http://vaww.vhadataportal.med.va.gov/DataAccess/DataAccessOverview.aspx (VA intranet only).
Types and Sources of VA Cost Data
|HERC Average Cost Data||X||X|
|MCA NDEs (excluding the ALBCC NDE)||X||X||X|
|MCA ALBCC NDE||X|
|HERC’s MCA DISCH NDE||X|
|CDW Pharmacy Outpatient Domain||X|
|OMOP||X||Map to CDW|
|VA Wage Index||X|
Common Types and Sources of VA Utilization Data
|CDW Data Domains||X||X||X||X|
*Information about VA utilization data sources is available on the VHA Data Portal: http://vaww.vhadataportal.med.va.gov/DataSources/DataSourcesOverview.aspx (VA intranet only).
Common Types and Sources of Cost Data for Healthcare Outside VA Hospitals
|VA Community Care Data||X||X||*|
|DaVINCI Cost Data||X||X||X||X|
*In general, VA requires veterans to get their medications from VA. As part of the VA Community Care program, Veterans can receive short-term (less than 14 day) urgent prescriptions in the community, but long-term prescriptions must be filled by VA.
**Information on non-VA services use may be obtained directly from the participant. Visit the Non-VA data page for some pointers when designing self-report instruments.
Visit the VHA Data Portal for a complete list of data sources available to VA data users: http://vaww.vhadataportal.med.va.gov/DataSources/DataSourcesOverview.aspx (VA intranet only).
Last updated: May 4, 2023