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We compared a list of individuals extracted from the WVCR data file with missing vital status, date of death, and\or cause of death information as of December 31, 2007 (study cut-off date) with more current vital status and date of death information from the linked Medicare denominator data files.
The quality of match between the WVCR data file and Medicare\Medicaid administrative data files was evaluated along with the significance of updates from the NDI.
A total of 42,333 individuals, aged 65 years or older when diagnosed with cancer, were identified from the WVCR data file with 44,887 cancer records during the period 2002-2007.
Using the SSN to BeneID crosswalk, we were able to match correctly a maximum of 41,574 (98.2%) individuals from the WVCR with the Medicare data files using the SSN alone.
We identified 5,970 (14.1%) individuals from the WVCR data file who were dually eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare (Exhibit 2).
The denominators for the match rates consisted of individuals reported by the WVCR data file as diagnosed with cancer at age 65 or older in that year.
The quality and completeness of the WVCR-Linked dataset is evident from the high match rates obtained while linking the WVCR data file with Medicare and Medicaid data files.
Possible explanations for why 759 individuals from the WVCR data file were not matched with Medicare administrative data files include: (1) individuals might not be enrolled in Medicare, as approximately 2% of all elderly are not enrolled in Medicare (Potosky et al., 1993); (2) individuals might be out of state residents diagnosed with cancer in West Virginia; (3) incorrectly recorded SSN, sex, or date of birth information in the WVCR data file; and/or (4) incorrect matches between the individuals' SSN from the WVCR data file and that from the CMS administrative data files.
The use of a cost-effective deterministic linkage approach to link Medicaid administrative data files with WVCR data file resulted in a match rate (14.3%) that is comparable to that found in prior studies (Bradley et al., 2007; Koroukian, 2008).
Linking data from the WVCR, the Medicare program, and the West Virginia state Medicaid program has been a complex technical task.
In conclusion, successful linkage of the WVCR data file with administrative and claims files from important sources represents a significant step in research efforts to reduce cancer disparities in the rural and medically underserved elderly population.
West Virginia Cancer Registry (WVCR) About the West Virginia Cancer Registry.
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