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History of Social Security

Include these keywords Exclude these keywords Use a range. Social Security Number. Last Known Residence City. ZIP Code. Start at the end. Our social security death index records are integrated with the other GenealogyBank online collections for the most robust family history research tool. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues.

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United States Social Security Death Index

Retrospective study. DMF sensitivity for NY deaths DMF sensitivity for NJ deaths The DMF is no longer a reliable source of death data.

AF-030: Researching the Social Security Death Benefit Records - Genealogy Gold Podcast

Researchers using the DMF may underestimate mortality. Large retrospective research studies often draw on multiple secondary sources such as electronic health records and claims data from private insurers. In the United States, specifically, it is difficult to determine mortality status due to multiple separate health and vital statistic databases at the local, state, and federal levels. Mortality measurement of very elderly patients may also be difficult.

The DMF is made available via a secure website, with a variety of access options. The potential impact of this change on the utility of the DMF has been as source of concern for several years; however, to our knowledge, it has not been rigorously investigated.

We hypothesized that the change would greatly reduce the validity of the DMF as a source of mortality data. Medical admissions were not included in the cohort.


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Hospital date of death, discharge date, and discharge status were obtained from our institutional data warehouse. If a patient had multiple anesthetics during the study period, only the most recent anesthetic was considered. If the date of death was null and the discharge status indicated death, then date of death was set to the date of discharge, and the patient was also considered to have died in hospital.

In fact, identifying death after discharge is one of the main motivations of using the DMF. We have kept our local DMF file current by applying monthly updates as mandated by the subscriber agreement. The match was run on October 16, The linked dataset included date and cause of death, unique patient identifier, hospital name and unique facility identification number as well as admission and discharge dates, patient sex, date of births, and residency, primary and up to 24 secondary diagnoses, primary and up to 14 secondary procedures.

Minnesota Death Search to the Present - Minnesota Department of Health

A true positive was a DMF record found for a patient who died in hospital, while a false positive was a DMF record found for a patient who did not die in hospital. A true negative was no DMF record for a patient who did not die in hospital, and a false negative was no DMF record for a patient who died in hospital. All false positives were manually checked via chart review. In addition, Cohen's kappa coefficient was calculated. This would simulate a hypothetical study with mortality as a primary endpoint.


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  • The curves are presented by cohort of patients discharged before and after November to emphasize the effect DMF change. The analysis was limited to New York State residents only with discharges on or before December 31, Statistical analysis was performed using R 3. Overall patients died in hospital, 5.

    Social Security Death Index Background

    Of them, 17 were matched directly on SSN; one case was matched on name. The sensitivity of the DMF dropped to The Kappa coefficient decreased to 0. The Kappa coefficient likewise remained very high at 0. Mortality data were available for NJ patients through December 31, Historically, the DMF was shown to be a reliable source of death data for elderly individuals, with 96 percent of deaths of patients over the age of 65 captured.

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