Chapter 1

Description of the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS)


Limitations of the TEDS

Interpretation of the Data

Organization of the Report

This report presents results from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) for discharges from substance abuse treatment occurring in 2006. 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. A total of 42 States submitted complete discharge data for discharges occurring in 2006; therefore, the data presented in this report do not represent all discharges in all States.

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 the 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 since 1992. The TEDS Discharge Data Set is more recently established, with the first data reported in 2000. These data sets include data on substance abuse treatment admissions and discharges from treatment that are routinely collected by States to monitor their individual substance abuse treatment systems. 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.

Items in the Discharge Data Set include:

Definitions and classifications used in the Admissions Minimum Data Set and Discharge Data Set are detailed in Appendix B.

The TEDS was designed to enable collection of information on entire treatment episodes. States are asked to submit a record for each initial admission to a treatment service, a record for each transfer from one service to another, and a discharge record corresponding to each admission or transfer. The linked admission and discharge records enable analyses of questions that cannot be answered with admissions data alone. Linked pairs of records provide information on a specific type of service, for example, the proportion of discharges that completed treatment and the average length of stay of treatment completers. A linked sequence of pairs of records represents a single treatment episode and provides information on the course of treatment.

Limitations of the TEDS
The TEDS, while comprising a significant proportion of all admissions to substance abuse treatment, does not include all such admissions. The TEDS is a compilation of facility data from State administrative systems. The scope of facilities included in the 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. The 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 the 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 the TEDS does not include early intervention programs; these are considered to be prevention programs. Crisis intervention facilities such as sobering-up stations and hospital emergency departments are not included in the TEDS.

The 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 Data
Considerations 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 provide information on treatment completion and the median LOS according to selected characteristics at admission for each of eight different service types (see Chapter 2). Both rates of completion and the median LOS varied widely by service type.

Appendix A contains a description of the background of the Treatment Episode Data Set.

Appendix B contains the definitions of the response categories for items in the TEDS Minimum Admissions data set and the Discharge data set.

1Percentages do not sum to 100 percent because of rounding.

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