Using IPUMS MEPS with restricted access MEPS data in the FSRDC
What is the FSRDC?
- Federal Statistical Research Data Centers (FSRDCs) are partnerships between federal statistical agencies and research institutions. At these secure environments, authorized researchers may access restricted-use microdata for statistical purposes.
- Approved researchers can access data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Census Bureau, and National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Why use the IPUMS versions of MEPS in the FSRDC?
- Take advantage of the data harmonization and cleaning already done by IPUMS Health Surveys by bringing your IPUMS extract into the FSRDC.
- Browse our searchable web-based documentation system for available variables, recommended sampling weights, and analytic considerations.
- Access versions of the data with consistently named and coded variables across all available years of data.
- Select only the variables and years of data that you need for your analysis using an intuitive web "shopping" interface.
- Download the data in your preferred format: Stata, SAS, SPSS, R, fixed width (.dat), or comma-separated values (.csv).
- Record your selections in your IPUMS account to make it easy to quickly revise your extract to add/drop variables and years.
- Familizarize yourself with MEPS data before accessing restricted versions of the data. MEPS data are complex and there is not internet access in the FSRDC. Explore IPUMS MEPS documentation and/or contact our user support with questions outside of the FSRDC.
- Get a jump start on the portions of your analysis that utilize public-use versions of the data. Write and troubleshoot code to construct your unique analytical variables and prepare analyses while you have access to resources not available inside the FSRDC (e.g., internet), allowing you to maximize your time in the FSRDC.
What information is in the Restricted MEPS Files?
- Link files to NHIS
- Fully specified ICD-9 codes
- Fully specified industry and occupation codes
- Finer geographic detail
- Federal and state marginal tax rates
- Confidential data files (Medical Provider Component, Household Component-Insurance Component Linked File)
- For more information, visit the AHRQ page on MEPS data available in the FSRDC.
How do I talk about IPUMS data in the proposal?
- IPUMS provides harmonized versions of the MEPS data collected by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). IPUMS does not collect these data. IPUMS data should be listed as an external or user-supplied data source.
- You will be required to submit a data dictionary as part of your proposal; highlight the variables necessary to merge IPUMS and restricted access versions of MEPS data in this section of the proposal.
- Remember that IPUMS variable names are not necessarily the same as original MEPS variable names.
- When noting data sources in table shells in your proposal, remember that the restricted access AHRQ version of MEPS is different than the IPUMS versions of public use MEPS data.
- Identification of IPUMS as a harmonized form of the original data from AHRQ.
- The name of the file that contains IPUMS data to be merged with restricted data.
- The name of the MEPS questionnaire sections from which the harmonized IPUMS variables are drawn.
- The name(s) of the appropriate linking keys in the IPUMS and restricted MEPS data files.
- Instructions for appropriate merging of IPUMS and restricted data.
- Researchers interested in utilizing restricted access MEPS data in an FSRDC will need to submit a proposal and obtain Census Bureau Special Sworn Status before gaining access. The process of submitting a proposal and acquiring Special Sworn Status takes time (a minimum of 6 months), so get started early.
- Visit the MEPS page on using restricted access versions of these data in the FSRDC.
- Fees associated with accessing data in the FSRDC vary, but may include:
- NCHS data management fees
- AHRQ data management fees
- FSRDC access fees (depending on the FSRDC and your institutional affiliation, there may be additional fees for daily use of the FSRDC)
- For more information on fees, visit the AHRQ page on Restricted Data Files Access.
- List of existing FSRDCs
Sample Proposal Language
Sample language for including IPUMS MEPS as user-supplied data:
User-supplied data: IPUMS Health Surveys MEPS (IPUMS MEPS). This file will include data from the harmonized form of MEPS data that is produced by IPUMS. We will use IPUMS MEPS variables from the following questionnaire sections: Access to Care, Preventive Care, Charge Payment, and Health Status. The IPUMS MEPS contains the MEPS public-use-file identification number (MEPSID) that will be used to merge the file to restricted MEPS data. The file we will submit containing IPUMS data will be called ipumsdata.sas7bdat.
Note that this sample language clearly includes:
Sample language for how to merge IPUMS data with restricted data:
IPUMS MEPS merge to MEPS Restricted: Our public use file, which will contain harmonized variables, will be merged to the restricted MEPS file at the person level for each year using the IPUMS variable MEPSID. The linking key can be constructed by concatenating DUID, PID, and PANEL in the original AHRQ version of MEPS data; this key can be used to merge the restricted MEPS data with the public use data one year at a time by MEPSID. IPUMS MEPS data will include all years of data in a single file; the IPUMS variable YEAR reports Full-Year Consolidated File survey year.
Note that this sample language clearly includes: