Discrepancies in Hospital Financial Information: Comparison of Financial Data in State Data Repositories and the Healthcare Cost Reporting Information System
64 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2018 Last revised: 11 Jul 2018
Date Written: May 15, 2018
High-quality financial data are important to stakeholders in the healthcare sector but are difficult to obtain. The two data sources most often used are hospital financial statements (HFSs) and Medicare Cost Reports (MCRs). Applying an analytical framework of data information quality dimensions, we compare a sample of 34,728 instances of 12 financial statement items extracted from HFSs and MCRs filed from 2007 through 2011. Our comparison shows a nontrivial frequency of missing items, widespread discrepancies across financial items, and a materiality of discrepancies that is significant in both sources. We also find many avoidable computational errors and significant absolute relative discrepancies between the sources. Additionally, we perform replications of two prior studies to test the believability of HFS and MCR data. Although we cannot conclude which source is more accurate, we do alert users of hospital financial data to the comparative potentials and limitations of these two major sources.
Keywords: data and information quality; Medicare Cost Report; financial statement; state data repository; hospital
JEL Classification: M40, M49, I19, C80, C81
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