Chapter 1
Description of the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)

Limitations of TEDS
Interpretation of the Data


This report presents results from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for 2007, and trend data for 1997 to 2007. The report provides information on the demographic and substance abuse characteristics of the annual admissions to treatment for abuse of alcohol and/or drugs in facilities that report to individual State administrative data systems. The Office of Applied Studies (OAS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), coordinates and manages collection of TEDS data from the States. (Additional information on TEDS, its history, and its relationship to SAMHSA’s other data collection activities can be found in Appendix A.)

The TEDS system comprises two major components, the Admissions Data Set and the Discharge Data Set. The TEDS Admissions Data Set is an established program that has been operational since 1992. It includes data on treatment admissions that are routinely collected by States to monitor their individual substance abuse treatment systems. The TEDS Discharge Data Set is more recently established, with the first data reported for Year 2000. For both data sets, selected data items from the individual State data files are converted to a standardized format consistent across States. These standardized data constitute TEDS.

The TEDS Admissions Data System consists of a Minimum Data Set collected by all States, and a Supplemental Data Set collected by some States. The Minimum Data Set consists of 19 items that include:

The Supplemental Data Set consists of 15 items that include psychiatric, social, and economic measures.

The TEDS Discharge Data System was designed to enable TEDS to collect information on entire treatment episodes. Discharge data, when linked to admissions data, represent treatment episodes that enable analyses of questions that cannot be answered with admissions data alone. Examples are the proportion of discharges that completed treatment and the average length of stay of treatment completers. Results from the TEDS Discharge Data System are published in a separate report.

Definitions and classifications used in the Admissions Minimum and Supplemental Data Sets are detailed in Appendix B.

Limitations of TEDS

TEDS, while comprising a significant proportion of all admissions to substance abuse treatment, does not include all such admissions. TEDS is a compilation of facility data from State administrative systems. The scope of facilities included in TEDS is affected by differences in State licensure, certification, and accreditation practices, and disbursement of public funds. For example, some State substance abuse agencies regulate private facilities and individual practitioners, while others do not. In some States, hospital-based substance abuse treatment facilities are not licensed through the State substance abuse agency. Some State substance abuse agencies track correctional facilities (State prisons and local jails), while others do not.

In general, facilities reporting TEDS data receive State alcohol and/or drug agency funds (including Federal Block Grant funds) for the provision of alcohol and/or drug treatment services. (See Chapter 4.) Most States are able to report all admissions to all eligible facilities, although some report only admissions financed by public funds. States may report data from facilities that do not receive public funds, but generally do not because of the difficulty in obtaining data from these facilities. TEDS generally does not include data on facilities operated by Federal agencies, including the Bureau of Prisons, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans
Affairs. However, some facilities operated by the Indian Health Service are included.

The primary goal of TEDS is to monitor the characteristics of treatment episodes for substance abusers. Implicit in the concept of treatment is a planned, continuing treatment regimen. Thus TEDS does not include early intervention programs that are considered to be prevention programs. Crisis intervention facilities such as sobering-up stations and hospital emergency departments generally are not included in TEDS.

TEDS is an exceptionally large and powerful data set. Like all data sets, however, care must be taken that interpretation does not extend beyond the limitations of the data. Limitations fall into two broad categories: those related to the scope of the data collection system, and those related to the difficulties of aggregating data from highly diverse State data collection systems.

Limitations to be kept in mind while analyzing TEDS admissions data include:

Interpretation of the Data

Considerations specific to this report include:

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