HERC: VA Cost Data Overview
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VA Cost Data Overview

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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

  Inpatient Outpatient Pharmacy Labor
HERC Average Cost Data  X X    
MCA NDEs X X X  
HERC’s MCA DISCH NDE X      
MCA ALBCC       X
CDW Pharmacy Outpatient Domain     X  
PBM Rx     X  
OMOP X   Map to CDW  
PAID       X
VA Wage Index       X

Common Types and Sources of VA Utilization Data

  Inpatient Outpatient Pharmacy Labor
CDW Data Domains X X X X
OMOP X X X X
MedSAS 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

  Inpatient Outpatient Pharmacy Labor
VA Community Care Data X X *  
DaVINCI Cost Data X X X X
Medicare/Medicaid X X X X
Self-Report**