Incomplete Hospital Claims Data at the End-Of-Fiscal-Year

Date: April 2001

Hospital claims data from Manitoba Health are compiled as patients are discharged from hospital. This means that each annual hospital claims file contains information only on patients who were discharged from a Manitoba hospital during that year, regardless of when a patient was admitted to hospital.

As a result, research analyses that look at admissions or inpatient hospital census (i.e. the number of hospital beds occupied on any given night) are subject to incomplete data for the days/weeks near the end of a fiscal year.

E.g. the data for a patient admitted to a Manitoba hospital in the last week of fiscal year 97/98 and discharged during the second week of fiscal year 98/99 will appear on the 98/99 hospital claims file.

If only the 97/98 hospital claims file is used for analyses of admissions or patient census in 1997/98, the results for the latter weeks of this fiscal year will be inaccurate. This problem can be all but eliminated by using both the 97/98 and 98/99 hospital claims files for the analyses of 97/98 hospital data.

MCHP also has available first quarter of the fiscal year hospital claims files. These files can be used to reduce the aforementioned end-of-the-fiscal-year inaccuracies. Recent work at MCHP, however, has shown that for certain types of admissions (notably psychiatry and emergent/urgent surgical) the first quarter hospital claims files still do not provide complete admission and inpatient census data for the end of the previous fiscal year.

The attached table gives daily average inpatient census counts and number of admissions by type of admission for the Winnipeg acute care hospitals each week during 1997/98. These data were computed first, by using the entire 97/98 hospital claims file plus the first quarter 98/99 hospital file, and then second, by using the 97/98 claims plus the entire 98/99 hospital dataset. The resulting differences are documented.

Significant differences were found among psychiatry and emergent/urgent surgical patients for up to 15 weeks prior to the fiscal year. There were also notable differences for the last 4 to 5 weeks of the year for emergent/urgent medical and scheduled medical admissions. There were essentially no differences among newborns and obstetrical cases.

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©2003 Manitoba Centre for Health Policy (MCHP)