Limited Data Set (LDS) files contain beneficiary level protected health information; however, selected variables within the files are encrypted, blanked, or ranged. LDS requests require a Data Use Agreement (DUA), but do not go through a Privacy Board review.
Data Available and Cost
The majority of LDS files are updated annually. The specific release information can be found by opening the link to the individual file descriptions.
The Denominator and claim Standard Analytic Files (SAFs) are available as annual or quarterly files. Specific run-off periods and release dates can be found in the article, "Medicare Limited Data Set (LDS) Quarterly Data Files."
Request Materials and Submission Information
LDS requests do not require a ResDAC review and can be submitted directly to CMS by the researcher.
The DUA-Limited Data Sets (LDS) page on the CMS website describes the process for requesting LDS files.
*Effective September 1, 2016 all research requests for MCBS and HOS data for the two limited access data releases must be requested through the Limited Data Set File Process.
If a researcher plans to use MCBS data in combination with Research Identifiable File (RIF) data, then the whole request becomes a RIF data request. The study must meet the criteria for an identifiable data request. The data request is no longer a Limited Data Set (LDS) request and must be submitted through ResDAC as a RIF request.