April 01, 2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently announced the availability of the next set of Medicare Claims Public Use Files (PUFs) for research, developed by IMPAQ International and its collaborators.
The newest files are the 2008 & 2010 Prescription Drug Profiles PUFs, in which each record is a profile or cell defined by the characteristics of Medicare beneficiaries, drugs, plans, and prescribers. The PUFs include beneficiary demographics (e.g., gender, age), plan characteristics (e.g., plan type, drug benefit type, gap coverage), prescription drug characteristics (e.g., active ingredient, drug class), prescriber characteristics, and payment information (e.g., average patient pay amount), and represent 100 percent of prescription drug claims (subject to suppression) for Medicare beneficiaries covered by Part D for calendar years 2008 and 2010.
The files are available to researchers as free downloads in CSV format, reflecting CMS’s commitment to increasing access to its Medicare claims data through the release of de-identified data files available for public use. They contain non-identifiable claim-specific information and are within the public domain.
To construct these files, which summarize the healthcare experience of millions of Medicare beneficiaries, the IMPAQ team has recognized the paramount importance of protecting beneficiary confidentiality. To that end, all directly identifiable information has been removed. Moreover, other potentially identifying variables, which might cause identification by themselves or in combination with other variables, have either been removed from the files or their values re-coded.
The Prescription Drug Profiles PUFs are the latest result of more than two years of collaboration between IMPAQ, NORC at the University of Chicago, and Buccaneer, a General Dynamics Company, to assist CMS to make Medicare data more available for research.
To learn more about CMS’s Public Use Files, please click here.