Question and Discussion Session 1: State Information Applications and E-Government Initiatives    (2OXN)

Q: (To Julie Gefke) If you had geo spatial information on the data and offset boundaries of counties by quarter of a mile or so could you release the Medicaid data? Or could you aggregate the data to census geographies and make the data available with those geographic identifiers?    (2OXO)

A: We can release data by the first three zips if the population is over 35,000. I donít think we could use Census geography or adjust county boundaries.    (2OXP)

Q: (To Julie Gefke) Follow up question on geography, do you have any spatial agglomerations of counties that make sense?    (2OXQ)

A: We pulled the data on the counties that could stand on their own, which was 8 out of 64, and grouped these counties based on the first three digits of their zip codes. We then went the National Association Counties and asked them to help us make meaningful spatial boundaries.    (2OXR)

Q: (To Gefke and panel) Does HIPAA create very different rules for confidentiality compared to the rules for census and employment data? Are these confidentiality rules very universes?    (2OXS)

A: No, Itís not just health care data, but also education data, criminal justice statistics, etc. There is a lot of bleed over. Employment data are covered under ERISA. HIPAA is a good example because we are all affected by it.    (2OXT)

Q: (panel and participants) What is some practical advice you would give in terms of the limitations of data for policy analysis? What can you do, whatís practical, whatís not practical?    (2OXU)

A: LEHD has added statistical noise to small area data that has met disclosure requirements in Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census. This was a huge advance, but the practical problem is that very little money is invested in what this is supposed to mean? The technique makes more information available, but state and local governments and organizations do not understand the data so it is not used as often. This information needs to be communicated to state and local actors.    (2OXV)

A: In terms of state and local government data, there are a number of factors that can affect data availability, such as a federal mandate or the agency directorís preference. It is important to develop relationships with these groups, but it is something that takes time.    (2OXW)

Q: We have discussed the importance of seamless data, but we have also talked about making different data sets available; consequently, any architecture is going to have seams in it. How do we build interfaces that donít frustrate users (this question was discussed further in the Systems Architecture break out group)?    (2OXX)