planning arena and two involving transportation. Section 2–A describes the work of a policy resource center established to craft analyses and data products and provide technical assistance—using the ACS as a primary source—for health care decision makers, while Section 2–B examines the uses of the ACS in the public health department of the nation’s largest city, including linkages to the city’s own survey and data resources. Section 2–C steps back and describes the framework through which data-driven analysis can influence the siting of specific health care facilities or modification of services. With Section 2–D, the chapter switches to the transportation area, beginning with an overview of the ways inw hich the ACS is used by metropolitan planning organizations to model future transportation trends and infrastructure needs. Section 2–E closes by describing specific legal and regulatory requirements under which the ACS is used to document transportation agencies’ compliance with social equity laws. (This specific example foreshadows some applications described more fully in Chapter 7.) The session included brief time for questions, the answers to some of which (clarifying an individual speaker’s point) are folded into the earlier questions; discussion of broader questions asked of multiple speakers is summarized in Section 2–F.

2–A PROVIDING DATA AND ANALYSIS TO STATE HEALTH CARE DECISION MAKERS

Kathleen Thiede Call (School of Public Health, University of Minnesota) described the functions of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), a health policy resource center for which she serves as an investigator. Funded primarily by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and housed at the University of Minnesota, SHADAC began operations in 2000 with the goal of making health-related data more accessible to state policy makers. (Additional detail on SHADAC’s early history is summarized by State Health Access Data Assistance Center, 2007.) To this end, SHADAC supplies technical assistance to state government agencies to either analyze existing data resources or, in some cases, to collect their own data.

SHADAC projects typically involve assessing health care coverage—both access to health care services and health insurance coverage. Call suggested that states need good data on health care coverage because policy decisions concerning health care have become major (if not dominant) in state-level budgeting. Consequently, the requirements for health insurance coverage data and estimates are considerable:

  • Estimates need to be valid and consistent, and need to facilitate comparisons across states;
  • Estimates need to support analysis of trends and patterns over time, in part to be able to judge the effectiveness of new policies;


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