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Name and Address File and Vital Status File

The Names and Addresses File and the Vital Status File are subsets of the data elements in the Enrollment Database (EDB). The particular information in each file is tailored to the request and is used to support health care researchers. Both files are created as needed by specific request from the EDB using one of the following two methods:

  1. A numeric search using a list of Health Insurance Claim (HIC) numbers or Social Security Numbers (SSNs)
  2. A demographic sampling

Each file contains fixed-length records, usually arranged sequentially. Fields in the record are in display format. There are no binary or Comp-3 fields.

The data contain personal identifiers and other material covered by the Privacy Act, and therefore, require authorization for use.

Beneficiary data are demographic. The Names and Addresses File contains name and address, state, sex, race, date of birth, date of death, etc. There is no last date of service or other non-demographic data in the files. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will only agree to release the name and address file for the purpose of contacting beneficiaries for research. Additionally, CMS will not release the Name & Address File directly to the researcher. In other words, researchers would define their sample, but will no longer be able to contact beneficiaries prior to the beneficiary giving consent to participate. A CMS hired contractor will mail out descriptive information to the beneficiary about the study.

In comparison, the Vital Status File contains the same demographic data with the exception of the beneficiary name and address. The Vital Status File is released directly to the researcher.

All Requests for identifiable data must be developed and reviewed with the assistance of the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC), who may be contacted at www.resdac.org or at resdac@umn.edu.

Once your data request has been reviewed by ResDAC, the final request can be sent to CMS as directed by ResDAC.