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Rehabilitation Dataset Directory: Dataset Profile

Dataset: Outpatient Standard Analytical Files (Outpatient SAF)

Basic Information
Dataset Full Name Outpatient Standard Analytical Files
Dataset Acronym Outpatient SAF

The Outpatient Standard Analytical File (SAF) contains procedure-level claims and billing data for Medicare Part B beneficiaries receiving services from institutional-affiliated outpatient health providers (including emergency room visits not resulting in inpatient hospital stays). Institutional outpatient providers include: hospital outpatient departments, renal dialysis facilities, comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities, and community mental health centers among others. The SAF includes: beneficiary demographic information, primary claim diagnosis and up to 25 additional diagnosis codes (ICD-9), Health Care Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes and Current Procedural Technology (CPT) codes. The SAF also contains provider information including CMS Certification Number (CCN), facility type, unique physician identification number (UPIN), and national provider identifier (NPI) for all healthcare providers. Procedure-level details include date and place of service, charges submitted by the providers, payments for services and service recipient copayments.

Studies often combine the Medicare Outpatient SAF data with the Medicare National Carrier file data to examine outpatient utilization of health services provided by both institutional-affiliated providers and non-institutional providers.

Key Terms Medicare Part B, HCPCS, CPT, Institutional-affiliated providers
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Administrative
Sponsoring Agency/Entity

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Health Conditions/Disability Measures
Health Condition(s)

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 Population Medicare beneficiaries
Sample Size/Notes

Medicare beneficiaries enrolled under Medicare Part B

Unit of Observation Individual
Continent(s) North America

United States

Geographic Coverage United States
Geographic Specificity Beneficiary residence zip code
Special Population(s)

 Medicare (Part B beneficiaries)

Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Administrative claims data
Years Collected 1999-present
Data Collection Frequency Annual
Strengths and Limitations
Strengths Very large sample size. Includes health services and rehabilitative services utilization in institutional settings, such as hospital outpatient departments, home health agencies, and comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities. Outpatient SAF data files can be linked to other CMS and non-CMS data.
Limitations Data for beneficiaries enrolled in Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) is not included. Due to a lack of patient-level health assessment information, analysis based on carrier files alone is primarily limited to the utilization of services. Linking outpatient files to carrier data files is required for certain conditions/procedures, such as outpatient rehabilitation services performed at non-institutional or institution-affiliated settings.
Data Details
Primary Website https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Files-for-Order/LimitedDataSets/StandardAnalyticalFiles
Data Access

For file cost and availability:


Data Access Requirements Data Use agreement, $ Cost
Summary Tables/Reports NA
Data Components

Main File

Condition Code File

Demonstrations/Innovations Code File

Occurrence Code File

Span Code File

Value Code File

Revenue Center File

Selected Papers
Other 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. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3062937/


Data Dictionaries:


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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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Acknowledgements: This tool was developed through the efforts of William Erickson and Arun Karpur, and web designers Jason Criss and Jeff Trondsen at Cornell University. Many thanks to graduate students Kyoung Jo Oh and Yeong Joon Yoon who developed much of the content used in this tool.

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