Missouri Uses AHRQ Tool to Examine Its Health Care Safety Net
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) used AHRQ's "Safety Net Monitoring Initiative: Tools for Monitoring the Health Care Safety Net" to compile the State's first report examining the health care safety net in Missouri.
Using AHRQ's Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) data and other data from various institutions in Missouri, Noaman Kayani, PhD, and Sherri Homan, RN, PhD, Section of Epidemiology for Public Health Practices at DHSS, analyzed 118 specific measures to examine the demand, support, structure, and environment of the safety net on a county level.
Kayani says, "AHRQ's 'Safety Net Monitoring Initiative' databooks were the beginning of the data we collected, updated, and analyzed for our report. It was an extremely useful resource and also motivated us to develop new indicators."
The "Report on the Health Care Safety Net in Missouri" followed a national research agenda, led by the Institute of Medicine, calling for the development of indicators and measures to monitor the availability, security, and sustainability of resources making up the "health care safety net" for uninsured patients. The report aimed to take the federal example and develop a baseline assessment of the health care safety net at the State and county level.
Kayani adds, "Inspired by this project, we created a ranking system for the counties, highlighting areas with limited access, gaps in services, and shortages of health care providers. We hope that this comprehensive approach provides the necessary data for the general public, as well as State and local policymakers to identify priority areas for resource allocation and establish an early warning system to allow the safety net to remain intact."
The project was funded by the Missouri DHSS and the Missouri Foundation for Health. The report can be found at http://health.mo.gov/data/pdf/HealthCareSafetyNet.pdf (20.75 MB).
More information about HCUP is available at http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov.