The Dartmouth Atlas provides reports and publications, and interactive tools to view region specific data and perform comparisons and analysis of the United States health care system using Medicare claims data
Background The Atlas Rate Generator allows the ability to obtain cross sectional rates of Medicare data efficiently.
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Data Files The Denominator file contains 100% population beneficiary demographic and enrollment information. The Master Beneficiary Summary File (MBSF), which replaced the Denominator file in 2009, is available. (Read more >)
Data Availability The Denominator file is available from years 2002-2009. The Master Beneficiary File (MBSF) is avaiable from years 2009 forward.
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Limitations The Atlas Rate Generator is limited to producing cross sectional rates. Some requests involving the Part B carrier file require separate run requests.
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The Dartmouth Atlas provides reports and publications, and interactive tools to view region specific data and perform comparisons and analysis of the United States health care system using Medicare claims data. These raw claims datasets are obtained from CMS on an annual basis, then processed and analyzed to develop aggregated datasets, which contain specific measures across national, regional, and local markets. Investigators, policy makers, the media, and others draw upon the Dartmouth Atlas to understand the United States health care system. A limitation of the Dartmouth Atlas database is that it provides reports of aggregated data for limited conditions and time periods.
A common barrier to streamlined research is the investigator's ability to navigate the DUA process and run preliminary data analyses during the research and grant development phase to avoid expensive and time-consuming costs associated with applying for and building individual databases. Additionally, media and policy-makers frequently request specific population health data at the geographic level that we are unable to provide. We built upon our existing Medicare claims data infrastructure with the development of an Atlas Rate Generator that allows the ability to obtain cross-sectional rates of Medicare data efficiently, at a lower cost, and in a timely manner. We achieve this aim by simplifying the process of obtaining the data and lowering programming costs.
The Atlas Rate Generator assumes that the requestor has some knowledge of Medicare claims data and research methodology. The requestor may ask for assistance at any time during the request process by clicking the link the right hand corner of the screen, “If you need assistance, please save your request and contact the DAC.”
Beneficiary Enrollment and Demographic Files
The Denominator file contains 100% population beneficiary demographic and enrollment information and is available from years 2002 - 2009. The Master Beneficiary Summary File (MBSF), which replaced the Denominator file in 2009, is available from years 2009 forward (currently through 2012). The Atlas Rate Generator utilizes both files to define the requestor's population of interest.
Inpatient hospital utilization is measured using the 100% MedPar file available for all years (currently 2001 – 2012). Each record represents a beneficiaries' stay in an inpatient hospital and may represent more than one claim depending on the length of stay and the amount of services received. The MedPar file contains diagnosis codes (ICD-9 dx) and procedures codes (ICD-9 sx and DRGs) to identify the beneficiaries' diagnosed condition and type of treatment provided.
Physician visits are measured using the Part B carrier file available at 20% in 2002, 40% from years 2003 through 2005 and 100% thereafter (currently through 2012). Each record in this file represents an individual claim for a beneficiary's visit with a medical provider, including doctors, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. In addition, claims for labs, ambulance services, and ambulatory service centers are included in this file. For each date of service, the Part B Carrier file records include ICD-9 diagnosis codes and HCPCS (CPTs) to identify the beneficiaries' diagnosed condition and type of treatment provided.
Data Files Available
The Atlas Rate Generator is limited to producing cross sectional rates. Each requested data output is limited to cross sectional rates for only 1 duration of time. Studies involving longitudinal analysis must be vetted through the Data Analytic Core at the regular rate.
Requests involving the use of the Part B carrier file (physician visits) in years 2002 – 2005 and subsequent years, will require separate run requests due to the 20%/40% beneficiary data availability
If including <65, only picking up beneficiaries who are eligible for Medicare due to disability.