The following maps were created for a research project analyzing the availability of VA healthcare for the US veteran population. After collecting and combining public healthcare data in ArcGIS, maps were designed to graphically represent several factors that influence how well the Veterans Health Administration is currently providing for veterans.
First, the location of all 129 unique hospitals were identified. By geocoding the addresses provided by the VHA Facility Quality and Safety Reports, these locations could be mapped according to size or number of visits. The County and State-level population information was added in order to gain a better understanding of where veterans are located in relation to these hospitals. Finally, County and State-level expenditure data were joined to population data in order to directly compare levels of spending with the existing veteran population.
In order to get a sense of how well hospitals are serving their surrounding population, a proportion has been established. By assigning county data to the closest hospital, an approximate calculation of the entire veteran population existing in the geographic region, which each hospital theoretically serves, can be calculated. We will call this value the total population of each hospital. Next, using FQSR data, the unique number of patients at each hospital can be identified. This number of patients is divided by the total population in order to calculate what we will call the patient proportion for each hospital. This ratio serves as a proxy for how effectively hospitals are accommodating the surrounding veteran population.