The Health Data Access Initiative (HDAI)

Health care utilization data from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) are a key data source for population health research. UC researchers collectively spend millions of dollars each year accessing these data, yet once purchased, they can be re-used for a fraction of the cost.

Together with colleagues at UCSF’s School of Medicine, CPL seeks to make these data accessible to a wider range of UC students and researchers.

The Health Data Access Initiative (HDAI) will establish a UC repository for Medicare and Medicaid data from CMS. CPL will help to build a dataset of commonly used CMS data costing $100,000+. The HDAI will then make it possible for UC researchers to re-use these CMS data for an accessible $2,000 fee, plus some administrative fees.

HDAI will support a range of projects across the social and health sciences.

Projects currently planned include:

  • A study of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare utilization for mental and substance use disorders
  • A study of the role of pharmacy benefit managers in drug pricing
  • A study of how AB 415, which expanded services and reimbursement for telehealth delivered services, affected patient tele-health service utilization
  • A study examining environmental determinants of gestational complications and perinatal health, using environmental data linked to birth records and Medicaid claims

What Data are Available?

Here are the current datasets and years available under HDAI:

Researchers may request additional datasets from CMS, but there may be a cost. The data available from CMS are listed here. CPL may be able to cover these costs under its seed grant program.

What is the Process for Requesting Access to the Data?

If you’re interested in using the CMS data, reach out to with a paragraph describing your research project, and any information about the data that would be required.

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