|Dataset Full Name||National Carrier File (or Physician/Supplier Part B claims file)|
The National Carrier file contains procedure-level claims and billing data for Medicare Part B beneficiaries receiving services from non-institutional health providers. Non-institutional health providers include: physicians, nurse practitioners, occupational and physical therapists, ambulance providers, and stand-alone ambulatory surgical centers. The data contain beneficiary demographic information, primary claim diagnosis, and up to 12 additional diagnoses (ICD-9 codes), as well as Health Care Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes and Current Procedural Technology (CPT) codes. Files also contain provider-level information including unique physician identification number (UPIN), and national provider identifier (NPI). Procedure-level details include: date and place of service, provider charges submitted, payments and recipient co-payments.
Studies often combine the Medicare National Carrier file data with the Medicare Outpatient Standard Analytical File (SAF) data to examine outpatient utilization of health services provided by both non-institutional providers and institutional-affiliated providers.
|Key Terms||Medicare Part B, HCPCS, CPT, Non-institutional providers|
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
|Health Conditions/Disability Measures|
ICD-9/10 diagnostic codes
|Disability Measures||NA||Measures/Outcomes of Interest|
|Topics||Outpatient health-services utilization, Outpatient rehabilitation services utilization, Continuity of care, Health Care Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS), Current Procedural Technology codes (CPT)||Sample|
|Sample Population||Medicare beneficiaries|
|Sample Size/Notes||Medicare beneficiaries enrolled under Medicare Part B|
|Unit of Observation||Individual|
|Geographic Coverage||United States|
|Geographic specificity||Zip code of beneficiary residence|
Medicare beneficiaries (Part B enrollees)
|Data Collection Mode||Administrative claims data|
|Data Collection Frequency||Annual||Strengths and Limitations|
|Strengths||Very large sample size. Includes health service utilization in outpatient settings provided by non-institutional health providers. Claims for other providers, such as free-standing facilities (e.g., ambulatory surgical centers, and clinical laboratories) are also found in the Carrier file. Carrier file data can be linked to other CMS and non-CMS data.|
|Limitations||Data for beneficiaries enrolled in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) is not included. Analysis limited to carrier files alone may be limited to study utilization of the services, without looking at outcomes. For certain conditions/procedures (e.g., outpatient rehabilitation services) that can be provided at non-institutional or institution-affiliated settings, a combination of outpatient files along with Carrier data files is needed.||Data Details|
Limited Data Set (LDS):
Research Identifiable File (RIF):
|Data Access Requirements||Data Use agreement, $ Cost|
|Similar/Related Dataset(s)||Selected papers|
Sharma G, Fletcher KE, Zhang D, Kuo YF, Freeman JL, Goodwin JS (2009). Continuity of outpatient and inpatient care by primary care physicians for hospitalized older adults. JAMA, 301(16):1671-80.
Gellhorn AC, Chan L, Martin B, Friedly J (2012). Management patterns in acute low back pain: the role of physical therapy. Spine, 37(9):775-82.
Data dictionary (LDS):
Data dictionary (RIF):
Using the Carrier File (formerly called the Physician/Supplier Part B File):
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The Rehabilitation Research Cross-dataset Variable Catalog has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI), and the University of Michigan. The CLDR is funded by NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (P2CHD065702).
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