SON Collaboration Panels were the focal point for development of recommendations on what to include or exclude from the draft SON Index. The four panels, comprised of 47 panelists, examined 56+ variables that may impact severity of need. The outcome: 19 variables were forwarded for consideration in the draft SON Index, while 21 variables were identified as important but lacking sufficient data for inclusion. An additional 16 variables were eliminated for various reasons (e.g., further discussion revealed less importance of the variable as a measure of severity of need; unavailability of data).
Collectively, 100+ conference calls and multiple meetings were held. Each panel completed a written report describing their process for eliminating and recommending variables to be included in the SON Index. Panel reports provide a richer insight into the depth of data and complex issues each considered.
This group examined structural characteristics of an area that make HIV/AIDS care more resource-intensive in one area versus another. They evaluated 20 variables and forwarded 5 for possible inclusion in a SON Index. The Area Characteristics Panel recommended variables on the number of HIV and AIDS cases and adjustment of this count based on measures of access, poverty, and insurance.
The Area Characteristics Panel split into three working groups, based loosely on available data sources, to examine issues in depth:
Variables were evaluated based on their importance in determining resource needs for Ryan White services and the current quality, cost, and availability of data used to measure them. They concluded that poor access, high poverty, and low rates of insurance may lead to greater need for Ryan White resources to provide services to the needy and Click here to access the full Area Characteristics Report. to undercounts of HIV/AIDS cases.
This panel looked at estimates of the medical care available to patients and the level of need persons living with HIV disease have for services. They examined 8 variables and recommended inclusion of the following 4 in the SON Index:
This group reviewed regional differences in medical costs that affect the cost of care, recommending three variables:
This panel reviewed characteristics of infected patients that make some populations require more resources than others. They evaluated 20 variables, 5 of which were forwarded for possible inclusion in a SON Index:
These variables were among those selected as a result of deliberations by three subgroups: clinical, co-morbidities, and demographics, each of which outlined the rationale for inclusion or exclusion based upon such considerations as potential sources of data and data quality. Deliberations were brought back to the full group for final panel recommendations.