Accessing CMS Data

HRS data are linked to detailed information about health care utilization from records maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Available data include:

CMS Research Files Documentation Available Years
Parts A and B Claims and Summary Files 1991-2015
Part D Drug Event Files Data Dictionary (.xlsx) 2006-2015
Minimum Data Set (MDS) Assessment and Summary Files Data Dictionary 1999-2015
Outcomes and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Assessment and Summary Files 1999-2015
Medicaid Analytic Extracts (MAX) and Summary Files 1999-2012

Unlike other HRS restricted data, the HRS linked CMS data are created and supplied by others. The Medicare & Medicaid Resource Information Center (MedRIC) creates and supplies the linked data and the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) provides authorization. So while HRS is your first step in applying for the HRS linked CMS data, you will have two more application processes to request and obtain the data through these organizations. HRS only provides cross-reference files that summarize the linkages to HRS data.

Read the MedRIC Documentation for HRS Data Requestors for descriptions of the summary and claims files.

View this graphic for an overview of the entire application process.

Diagram showing an overview of the HRS-CMS Linked Data Application process.

Application Process

Note: begin Steps 1 & 2 at the same time.

Step 1. Submit Application for HRS Restricted Data

  • Follow instructions for application through the Traditional License.
  • Include the Restricted CMS Data Products Order Form in your application. Although HRS does not provide the data, this form lets us know which products you are requesting.

Step 2. Submit a ResDAC Research Identifiable Files (RIF) Request Packet

  • ResDAC Research Identifiable Files (RIF) Request Packet
  • When you receive preliminary approval for HRS Restricted Data, you will send the CMS Data Use Agreement from the ResDAC packet to HRS for signature.
  • Your complete RIF Request Packet will include the signed DUA and restricted data access approval letter from HRS.

Step 3. Request a MedRIC data licensing agreement

Step 4. Receive data files from MedRIC, and cross-reference files from HRS