Inpatient LDS KnowledgeBase Articles

Medicare Inpatient File, LDS or RIF: Counting Distinct Hospitalizations

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Hospitals may submit multiple claims for some hospitalizations. This article provides guidance for counting distinct inpatient hospitalizations and for sequencing claims for each distinct hospitalization found in the inpatient Research Identifiable File (RIF) and Limited Data Set (LDS) files. This guidance is not applicable to the MedPAR because each record in that file is already a distinct hospitalization.

Inclusion of Hospital and Skilled Nursing Stays in the RIF Annual MedPAR and Claims Data

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Researchers working with the Research Identifiable (RIF) versions of the MedPAR or Inpatient and Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) claims may find records that do not appear to correspond to the year of the file. These instances can usually be explained by how stays or claims are included in the files during file creation.

Medicare MedPAR, Inpatient, Outpatient RIF and LDS files: “V” in the fifth position of the Provider Number

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Beginning in 2008, some hospital provider numbers appearing in the claims contain a “V” in the fifth position of the six-digit Medicare Provider Number. Usually, the fifth position is a number, not a character. These hospital provider numbers appear in the MedPAR, Inpatient and Outpatient files for both RIF and LDS versions.  ResDAC recommends that researchers remove these claims.

Differences between the Inpatient and MedPAR Files

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Researchers who are interested in studying inpatient utilization (e.g. hospital stays) have two options: the Inpatient claims file or the Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR) file. It is important to note that the differences between the two files will vary depending on whether a researcher is interested in the Research Identifiable File (RIF) or Limited Data Set (LDS) versions of the two files.