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The Databases |

Linking Medicare and National Survey Data

Lee A. Lillard, PhD; and Melissa M. Farmer, MS
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From the RAND Center for the Study of Aging, Santa Monica, California. Note: This article is one of a series of articles comprising an Annals of Internal Medicine supplement entitled “Measuring Quality, Outcomes, and Cost of Care Using Large Databases: The Sixth Regenstrief Conference.” To see a complete list of the articles included in this supplement, please view its Table of Contents. Acknowledgment: The authors thank Jeannette Rogowski of RAND for work done on linking Medicare data with PSID data. Grant Support: In part by grants P20-AG12815 and PO1-AG08291 from the National Institute of Aging. Requests for Reprints: Lee A. Lillard, PhD, RAND Center for the Study of Aging, 1700 Main Street, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Lillard and Ms. Farmer: RAND Center for the Study of Aging, 1700 Main Street, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138. Current Author Addresses: Dr. Lillard and Ms. Farmer: RAND Center for the Study of Aging, 1700 Main Street, PO Box 2138, Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1997;127(8_Part_2):691-695. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-127-8_Part_2-199710151-00051
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Administrative records from the Medicare Program of the Health Care Financing Administration provide a valuable source of information for research on medical and public policy issues. This administrative database contains information on utilization of covered medical services, diagnoses, episodes of illness, and Medicare-covered costs of health care. Combining such data with information from national surveys on health status, demographics, and socioeconomic attributes substantially expands the scope of potential research questions that can be addressed. This article discusses the benefits and difficulties of linking Medicare administrative data with survey data and provides brief summaries of five national surveys of elderly U.S. citizens. These surveys can be valuable resources for examining the health status and life experiences of the Medicare population.

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