Accessing CMS Data

Research files created by the Medicare & Medicaid Resource Information Center (MedRIC) link HRS data to detailed information about health care utilization from records maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Available Data

Links in this table lead to the data file description on the MedRIC website.

CMS Research Files Available Years
Parts A & B Research Files 1991-2018
Denominator (DN) 1991-1998
Home Health Outcome and Assessment Information Set (OASIS) Research Files 1999-2018
Long-Term Care Minimum Data Set (MDS) Research Files 1999-2018
Master Beneficiary Summary File (MBSF) - Base Segment Files 1999-2018
Medicaid Analytic Extracts (MAX) and Summary Files 1999-2012
Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) Research Files 2013-2018
Part D Drug Event (PDE) Research Files 2006-2018
Part D Medication Therapy Management (MTM) Files 2013-2018

Encryption Level

For most Medicare and Medicaid files (all except Medicare PDE) researchers may apply for three different levels of data:

  • Level 1: The standard release, which contains enrollment and utilization information but omits geographic identifiers and masks provider identifiers, which should meet the needs of most users

  • Level 2: A geographic release, which adds beneficiary state, county and zip code to the above

  • Level 3: A provider release, which includes complete provider identifiers and geographic information for respondents and providers.


Application Process

Unlike other HRS restricted data, the HRS linked CMS data are created and supplied by others. While HRS is your first step in applying for the HRS linked CMS data, you will have additional application processes. If your project is funded by the NIA, you will apply to MedRIC to access the data through the MedRIC Enclave. If your project is not funded by the NIA, you will apply for a CMS DUA through the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) before requesting the data from MedRIC.

Application Instructions for NIA-Funded Researchers

Step 1. Submit Application for HRS Restricted Data

Step 2. Request a MedRIC data licensing agreement

Step 3. Data Access

  • You will be contacted by MedRIC staff with the details you need to log in to the MedRIC Enclave.

Application Instructions for Non NIA-Funded Researchers

View a diagram showing an overview of the HRS-CMS Linked Data Application process.

Step 1. Submit Application for HRS Restricted Data

  • Follow instructions for applying through a Traditional License.
  • Select only "Standalone Workstations" or "Networked Workstation" computing environments.
  • You will be required to supply information from 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.
  • Note: University of Michigan researchers who are NOT funded by the NIA can instead apply through the VDI. All others must use the Traditional License.

Step 2. Submit a ResDAC Research Identifiable Files (RIF) Request Packet to obtain a CMS DUA

Step 3. Request a MedRIC data licensing agreement

Step 4. Data Access

  • If you applied through the Traditional License, you will receive data files from MedRIC, and cross-reference files from HRS.
  • If you applied through the VDI as a non NIA-funded University of Michigan researcher, you will receive HRS-CMS linked data files from MedRIC. You must supply these data files to the HRS data administrators to be loaded to the MiCDA Enclave. You will then be contacted by HRS staff with the details you need to login to the enclave from your computer through the VDI.