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To advance consideration of whether California should collect and release physician-identified data, RAND conducted a study to explore issues associated with requiring the inclusion of physician identifiers in the California hospital discharge data set and the potential use of physician-identified data by the state and/or release to others. RAND researchers conducted interviews with a broad set of California stakeholders, reviewed the legal and regulatory authority of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to collect and release physician identifiers, and interviewed representatives from other states to understand any issues encountered by the states in their collection and use of physician-identified data. The authors found that physician-identified data could be useful to a variety of stakeholders. Of the 48 states that have hospital discharge reporting programs, all but California collect physician identifiers and do so without substantial burden to hospitals. States vary in their release policies, but those who do release the data have not reported problems. California stakeholders expressed concerns related to who would have access to the data, how the data would be analyzed, and how consumers would interpret the information, which should be carefully considered in efforts to advance the collection of physician identifiers in the California hospital discharge data.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    OSHPD's Current Hospital Discharge Data Collection and Release Policies

  • Chapter Three

    Study Approach

  • Chapter Four

    Background on Legal Issues Related to OSHPD's Authority to Add a Physician Identifier to the Hospital Discharge Data Set

  • Chapter Five

    Summary of Interviews with California Stakeholders

  • Chapter Six

    Summary of Interviews with Representatives in Other States

  • Chapter Seven

    Key Findings and Recommendations

The research described in this report was sponsored by the California HealthCare Foundation and was conducted within RAND Health, a division of the RAND Corporation.

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