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. 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.

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

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 the VDI or Traditional License.
    • Only users at the University of Michigan can apply through the VDI. All others must use 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 to obtain a CMS DUA

Step 3. Request a MedRIC data licensing agreement

Step 4. Data Access

  • If you applied through the VDI, you will be contacted by HRS staff with the details you need to login to the enclave from your computer through the VDI.
  • If you applied through the Traditional License, you will receive data files from MedRIC, and cross-reference files from HRS.