Research Identifiable Files (RIF) Requests


Research identifiable files (RIF) contain beneficiary level protected health information (PHI) that can be used for analysis in your research study. A "study" is defined as having a strong research design, which clearly states the objectives and the significance of the research being conducted and provides a credible, straightforward argument for the importance of the project. The study shall address the following areas: hypotheses/study issues, data limitations, analysis plan and analysis methods. The scope and subject matter of the study must assist CMS in monitoring, managing, and improving the Medicare and Medicaid program and the services provided to beneficiaries. CMS must balance the potential risk to beneficiary confidentiality with the probable benefits gained from the completed research. A requestor must demonstrate expertise and experience to conduct and complete his/her proposed study using RIF data files.

Requests for RIF data require a Data Use Agreement (DUA) and are reviewed by CMS’s Privacy Board to ensure that the beneficiary’s privacy is protected and the need for identifiable data is justified. The Researchers page on the CMS website provides the criteria for the release of these data.

(NOTE: If you are a Federal or State Agency or requesting data under the Medicare Qualified Entity Program, please visit the specific request page found on the navigation menu to the left.)

Data Available and Cost

Review all Research Identifiable Files (RIF) available for request. If you would like to obtain a formal cost estimate, please fill out the Cost Estimate Request form and submit to To obtain ballpark pricing, please call the ResDAC Assistance Desk.

Request Materials and Submission Information

Email all required request materials to For the initial submission, please send draft documents only (no signatures). Following ResDAC's review and your completion of appropriate revisions to the request materials, ResDAC will forward them to CMS on your behalf. Data requests are reviewed by CMS on a rolling basis.

If you have multiple requests, please submit them individually for accurate tracking in ResDAC's ticketing system.  For example, instead of submitting one new use request, two amendment requests, and all request documents in a single email, please submit three separate emails with only the documents specific to each request attached.