• Medicare;
  • Minimum Data Set (MDS);
  • transitions in care settings;
  • linking administrative files;
  • tracking health care utilization

Objective. To construct a data tool, the Residential History File (RHF), that summarizes information from Medicare claims and nursing home (NH) Minimum Data Set (MDS) assessments to track people through health care locations, including non-Medicare-paid NH stays.

Data Sources. Online Survey of Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) data for 202 free-standing NHs, Medicare Denominator, claims (parts A and B), and MDS assessments for 60,984 people who were present in one of these NHs in 2006.

Methods. The algorithm creating the RHF is outlined and the RHF for the study data are used to describe place of death. The identification of residents in NHs is compared with the reports in OSCAR and part B claims.

Principal Findings. The RHF correctly identified 84.8 percent of part B claims with place-of-service in NH, and it identified 18.3 less residents on average than reported in the OSCAR on the day of the survey. The RHF indicated that 17.5 percent non-Medicare NH decedents were transferred to the hospital to die versus 45.6 percent skilled nursing facility decedents.

Conclusions. The population-based design of the RHF makes it possible to conduct policy-relevant research to examine the variation in the rate and type of health care transitions across the United States.