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  • Alternative Title:
    J Surv Stat Methodol
  • Description:
    Record linkage is a valuable and efficient tool for connecting information from different data sources. The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has linked its population-based health surveys with administrative data, including Medicare enrollment and claims records. However, the linked NCHS-Medicare files are subject to missing data; first, not all survey participants agree to record linkage, and second, Medicare claims data are only consistently available for beneficiaries enrolled in the Fee-for-Service (FFS) program, not in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. In this research, we examine the usefulness of multiple imputation for handling missing data in linked National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)-Medicare files. The motivating example is a study of mammography status from 1999 to 2004 among women aged 65 years and older enrolled in the FFS program. In our example, mammography screening status and FFS/MA plan type are missing for NHIS survey participants who were not linkage eligible. Mammography status is also missing for linked participants in an MA plan. We explore three imputation approaches: (i) imputing screening status first, (ii) imputing FFS/MA plan type first, (iii) and imputing the two longitudinal processes simultaneously. We conduct simulation studies to evaluate these methods and compare them using the linked NHIS-Medicare files. The imputation procedures described in our paper would also be applicable to other public health-related research using linked data files with missing data issues arising from program characteristics (e.g., intermittent enrollment or data collection) reflected in administrative data and linkage eligibility by survey participants.
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