Researchers often use Veterans Health Administration (VHA) data to understand the care veterans receive when admitted to a VHA hospital. However, these data must be used correctly. We found that patients with mental health conditions consistently have longer average length of stay when admitted but the choice of algorithm used to calculate length of stay from VHA data affects conclusions about the size of this difference. Our findings will help researchers properly tailor algorithms for calculating length of stay. This will lead to more accurate results in future studies used to guide strategic planning initiatives to improve VHA inpatient healthcare delivery.
Volume 47 Number 8, 2010
Pages 709 — 718
Last Reviewed or Updated Wednesday, October 27, 2010 10:04 AM