About NCVHS and Its Work on Functional Status

The National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics advises the Department of Health and Human Services on health information policy. Functional status information cuts across the National Committee’s responsibility to advise HHS on standards and population health. The initiative that produced this report is led by the NCVHS Subcommittee on Populations. As part of its mission to enhance information on the health of the entire population, the Subcommittee seeks improvements in data on groups for whom adequate data are often lacking and who are at particular risk for substandard care and poor health outcomes.

NCVHS has promoted and worked on standardization of health records and reports since 1970, and has had a major role in this area since enactment of HIPAA. A large project to recommend standards for the computer-based patient record is underway, pursuant to HIPAA and spearheaded by the Subcommittee on Standards and Security. The privacy implications of all of the Committee’s work are monitored by the Subcommittee on Privacy and Confidentiality.

NCVHS is working to ensure that all data and transaction standards allow transmission of the information needed to monitor and optimize the health of the entire U.S. population. The Public Health Data Standards Consortium has a similar mission. Guardians of the public interest such as these bodies regard it as essential that standardized administrative data serve population health purposes as well as financial and clinical ones.

A 1996 NCVHS report on common data needs for enrollment and encounter laid the groundwork for the current report. After two years of study and consultations with stakeholders around the country, the Committee recommended 42 core data elements. Functional status was one of six elements highlighted for special attention because no consensus existed on how the information should be reported. The Committee urged the Department to give high priority to developing these six elements.

Since 1996, the need for standardized functional status data has become even more pressing. The NCVHS The Subcommittee on Populations decided in 1999 to launch a project on functional status, recognizing the pressing need for the information and the lack of action on it in the health information policy area.

Subcommittee on Populations, 2000-2001

  • Lisa I. Iezzoni, M.D. (Chair through 2000, then emeritus participant)
  • Vickie Mays, Ph.D., Chair in 2001
  • Kathryn L. Coltin, M.P.H.
  • Eugene J. Lengerich, V.M.D.
  • Paul Newacheck, Dr.P.H.
  • Barbara Starfield, M.D., M.P.H.
  • M. Elizabeth Ward, M.N.

Project Staff and Consultants:

  • Marjorie Greenberg, Executive Secretary
  • Aaron Handler, IHS
  • Gerry Hendershot, Ph.D., NCHS (retired 2001)
  • Debbie Jackson, NCHS
  • Cille Kennedy, Ph.D., ASPE
  • Paul Placek, Ph.D., NCHS
  • Susan Queen, Ph.D., HRSA