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  • Volume 23 Number 2
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Acquiring State Hospital Discharge Data and Identifying the Availability and Consistency of Homelessness Indicators of Interest

Emily Sokol
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the official positions or policies of the Office of Policy Development and Research, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or the U.S. Government.

In an article published in the American Journal of Public Health, Madigan et al. (2019) provided evidence that estimates of homeless populations may be strengthened by analyzing homelessness indicators in hospital discharge data. To further explore Madigan et al.’s (2019) approach to estimating homelessness, I intend to conduct analyses of hospital discharge data for states across the United States with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Social Science Analyst Brent Mast. As a supplement to this ongoing project, the purpose of this article is to report the information that was gained during the data acquisition process, as access to hospital discharge data pertinent to the estimation of homeless populations was requested from each state. In doing so, this analysis will provide background on the role and maintenance of hospital discharge databases (HDDs) in state health systems, outline if and how homelessness is indicated in such databases, and illustrate state-to-state variability in the process of data acquisition of HDDs.

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