Limitations of TEDS
Interpretation of the Data
Organization of the Report
This report presents results from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for clients discharged from substance abuse treatment in 2005. The report provides information on treatment completion, length of stay in treatment, and demographic and substance abuse characteristics of approximately 1.5 million discharges from alcohol or drug treatment 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 is comprised of 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 for over 10 years. It includes data on substance abuse 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 in 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 Set 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 includes 15 items that include psychiatric, social, and economic measures.
The TEDS Discharge Data Set was designed to enable TEDS to collect information on entire treatment episodes. States are asked to submit data for all discharges from substance abuse treatment. Discharge data, when linked to admissions data, represent treatment episodes that enable analyses of questions that cannot be answered with admissions data alone, for example, the proportion of discharges that completed treatment and the average length of stay of treatment completers.
A total of 34 States submitted complete discharge data for clients discharged in 2005; therefore, the data presented in this chapter do not represent all discharges in all States.
Items on the discharge record include:
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, accreditation, 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 treatment in 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. 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 a 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 data include:
Interpretation of the DataConsiderations specific to this report include:
Organization of the Report
Chapter 2 comprises general information about the linked admission/discharge records in the report.
Chapters 3 to 10 comprise a set of tables detailing reason for discharge for each of eight discrete service types. Each table represents an item in the TEDS Minimum Data Set (e.g., gender, age, race/ethnicity), and includes number, percent distribution, percent completion, and median and average (mean) lengths of stay in days.Six service types exclude records where opioid replacement therapy was planned as part of treatment:
Appendix A details the background of the Treatment Episode Data Set.
Appendix B contains the definitions of the response categories for items in the Minimum and Discharge data sets.
Appendix C contains the average (mean) length of stay (LOS) in days, the maximum LOS in days, and the standard deviation of the mean for all mean values shown in the report tables. The tables are organized by service type, variable value, and reason for discharge.
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