The Arkansas Hospital Discharge Data System is one of the most important tools for addressing a broad range of health policy issues. Act 670 of 1995, A.C.A. 20-7-201 et seq., requires all hospitals licensed in the state of Arkansas to report information as prescribed by the State Board of Health. “All hospitals” include general medical surgical (GMS) hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), long-term acute care hospitals (LTAC), psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals. The Act also specifically prohibits the release of any information from the collected data that identifies, or could be used to identify, any individual patient, provider, institution or health plan.
Beginning in 1996 with very limited data, the system has grown to include virtually all discharges with a stay of more than one day as well as all emergency department discharges. Information reported includes demographics such as date of birth, gender, race and ethnicity. Clinical information includes dates of service, discharge status, diagnoses, procedures and injury data. Charges are included, as well.
Staff edit and complete these data, then combine data from all the hospitals into a dataset for each calendar year. Staff then are able to access information for policy, planning and research applications for the submitting hospitals and many other interested parties. The de-identified datasets are shared with other states, for services provided in Arkansas to residents of that state, and with the national HCUP dataset.
A Data Request Form is available that may be used by interested parties to specify needed information. Staff will respond to each inquiry with information about limitations of available data, time frames and charges.