What is CHARS?
The Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System (CHARS) is a Department of Health system which collects record level information on inpatient and observation patient community hospital stays and is used to:
- Identify and analyze hospitalization trends
- Establish statewide diagnosis related group (DRG) weights, as a way of comparing hospital stays across all hospitals
- Identify and quantify health care access, quality, and cost containment issues
Files to purchase
These are record level data files. Working with these data files requires use of spreadsheet, database management, or statistical software that are not provided. A Data Sharing Agreement (DSA) is required to access all vital records data.
A DSA documents the conditions under which the Department of Health shares limited datasets containing potentially identifiable information with outside entities. By signing the DSA, the recipient(s) of the data agrees to not link information with any other information that could identify an individual or use the information to contact any individuals. Data may not be disclosed unless agreed upon in the DSA.
Order CHARS data
Fill out our online Data Order Form to request CHARS data. A valid data sharing agreement is required to order data.
Data files available for purchase
Inpatient Limited Files (1987 to 2020)
Coded hospital inpatient discharge information (derived from billing systems). Contains age, sex, zip code, diagnosis and procedure codes, billed charges, etc.
CHARS Dictionary - Limited - no DRG
Observation Limited Files (2009 to 2020)
Coded hospital observation stay data. Contains age, sex, zip code, diagnosis and procedure codes, billed charges, etc.
Revisit File (1 file that spans 2014 to 2020)
Linked inpatient and observation stay hospital discharge information. This file can be used to count individuals who have been hospitalized more than once in this time period. Requires inpatient/observation limited files for demographic/diagnosis information.
Hospital Revisit File 2020 (Excel)
Linked Birth-CHARS Files (1987 to 2014)
Information from the medical and statistical section of the birth certificate linked to the mother's and newborn's hospital inpatient discharge (CHARS) record.
Linked Birth/CHARS File - Variable List: 1987-2014 (Excel)
Aggregated discharge counts by hospital payers, by Diagnosis Related Groups, patient origin, as well as footnotes on the data for public use.
Public Use files
Coded hospital inpatient discharge information. Free for public use and ready for immediate download.
Due to licensing issues, Diagnosis Related Group (DRG) information will no longer be available. For questions, please contact the Center for Health Statistics at firstname.lastname@example.org.
CHARS Public File 2014 (Zip)
CHARS Public File 2020 (Zip)
Public Use Data Set File Layout, 2010-Current (Excel)
Find hospital directory, description codes, CHARS history and more on the CHARS Resources webpage.
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Our office has these topics: CHARS Data Users, Vital Statistics Data, and BRFSS Data Users.