The Bureau of Community Health Services Common Reporting Requirements data system (BCRR), implemented on October 1, 1976, is the major source of management information for 12 Bureau of Community Health (BCHS) programs. The data provided through the BCRR is intended to serve the following purposes: 1) assure compliance with legislative mandates; 2) report to Congress regarding program status; 3) allocate resources to the Regional Offices; 4) conduct program evaluations including comparisons among programs, states, and regions; 5) facilitate program integration; and 6) identify areas where grantees need technical assistance. The primary purpose of this study was to assist the Health Services Administration - Office of Policy, Evaluation and Legislation (HSA-OPEL) in exploring the potential evaluative uses of the BCRR. Specific objectives included: 1) to acquire and assess BCRR data and develop a plan for preliminary data analysis; 2) to perform preliminary analysis aimed at identifying data gaps and developing procedures necessary to prepare the data for further analysis; and 3) to select issues or hypothesis for further study which address current or potential program indicators and. comparisons across programs. The major activities undertaken during this study were of two types - data management and data analysis. Data management and preparation of the data for analysis included: 1) data acquisition; 2) the development of a data management system; 3) review and editing of data; and 4) classification of grantees. Upon completion of data editing and classification by program, several analytical studies were undertaken by NIAS in conjunction with HSA-OPEL staff. The analytical studies served three primary purposes: 1) to provide a sample of the potential uses of BCRR data for description and evaluation of the BCHS programs; 2) to compare findings with current standards for program indicators established by BCHS and/or with findings published in previous studies; and 3) to provide an opportunity for program officials in BCHS to comment on the types of studies and presentation formats most useful for decision making. The findings of this study indicate that the BCRR provides a wealth of information of good quality for evaluating BCHS programs both within and across programs. Although each BCHS program has unique qualities, the fact that data are collected in a uniform manner across programs actually facilitates identification of differences between programs and allows for the development of program or region-specific standards as needed. The authors recommend that this responsive philosophy to improving the BCRR system, as well as the technical assistance provided to grantees, be continued by HSA. In addition to extending the studies presented to additional BCHS programs, a number of other issues are suggested for investigation. These are: 1) the influence of exogenous factors upon program indicators; 2) further study of cost per encounter; 3) time-trend studies; and 4) specific studies of the maternal and child health program projects.
Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857 (E-58).
Enger I. Hurley RE. Lesniak M. Pindas NM. Miller TE. Fosdick JS. Rodes TW. Final report: comparison of program indicators across programs using the BCHS common reporting requirements. Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857 (E-58). 1978