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Obtaining CMS Data for Your Research

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has a contract with the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) to facilitate data access requests. The ResDAC website provides all of the necessary information on how to obtain Medicare and/or Medicaid data for researchers, including requests for both restricted and limited datasets as well as public use files (PUF)/non-identifiable files. CMS data are used to complete the specific aims of an NIA grant.

The first step in obtaining CMS data involves submitting a new request to ResDAC for Research Identifiable Files (RIF) and a RIF Data Use Agreement (DUA). A DUA is an agreement for use of CMS data containing individual identifiers. The form outlines in detail the confidentiality requirements of the Privacy Act and CMS' data release policies and procedures. For researchers who already have an existing DUA, but are requesting additional data years and/or files, you must complete a DUA Update form. This document is not signed nor finalized until the end of the ResDAC review process.

An overview of the timeline and process for requesting RIF data is presented in ResDAC’s Knowledgebase article. A ResDAC Technical Advisor will review your request for accuracy and completeness; the ResDAC Advisor is there to ensure your application for data is as strong as possible before it is submitted to CMS. To review the materials needed for your request, see ResDAC’s RIF Data Request page. If you have more questions, ResDAC staff can provide specific advice as you develop your request(s).

What is the timeline for FPO approvals?

NIA FPO approval of CMS requests varies depending on the request type. Please see below for request types, explanation associated with the request types, and length of time for approval. Do note that the availability of FPOs may affect completing any request.

Request Type Explanation
DUA extension requests

When CMS sends you a reminder email for a DUA expiration date at the 60-day mark, forward this email directly to your FPO. If your project is active, the FPO will approve your access before the DUA expires. If your project is no longer active, but you require access to data files to complete manuscripts, you must explain this, providing the title(s), status of the manuscript(s), and the journal(s) you plan to submit your work. This will serve as the justification that the NIA will provide to CMS to extend a DUA beyond the project end date. The FPO will send this extension directly to CMS with a copy to you and relevant study personnel.

Note: CMS will extend for one year only; work performed under this extension should be completed during this time.

For any questions, please contact Ms. Prisca N. Fall and copy

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