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Arkansas' Multi-State Integrated Database

Policymakers and planners in Arkansas wanted easy access to information on health insurance coverage and state-specific data to inform their health policy discussions. Under a Health Resources and Services Administration State Planning Grant (2000–2001), a team led by the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement developed a rapid-response data query tool for use in policy evaluations or deliberations.[1] This tool already has been of use in legislative committee hearings by clarifying misconceptions about health insurance coverage and related health data.

With additional federal funding, the Arkansas team has expanded this model to develop the Multi-State Integrated Database (MSID), a Web-based data tool for other State Planning Grantee states facing similar challenges. It is designed to help states develop health coverage policies, evaluate alternative waiver proposals, and compile state profiles describing health care utilization, economic status, and demographic profiles.

The Arkansas team provides states with user training and support, policy development, and a data translation process to incorporate state-specific and national survey data into the MSID. The tool utilizes existing national datasets (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Current Population Survey, and County Business Patterns), as well as state-specific surveys. The policy-development training also includes an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the national surveys and the basic methodology utilized by the survey sponsors.

The tool is currently available to approximately 30 State Planning Grant states, other states, and agencies. In the future, the MSID also could be used by county health departments, minority health commissions, and regional health systems to draw accurate and timely health care information.

[1] The Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been awarding State Planning Grants since September 2000. The one-year federal grants are awarded to states to develop plans for providing their uninsured citizens access to affordable health insurance. For more information, visit

For More Information
Contact: Shirley Tyson, Project Director, Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, [email protected]


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