Researchers studying health-related issues are major users of the restricted data available exclusively through FSRDCs. The latests available statistics show that out of all projects in progress at the FSRDC network, 48 percent use data provided by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) or by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Selected FSRDC Projects related to Health by Penn Investigators

Restricted Census Data:

  • Bruce Kinosian, Associate Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania has used restricted census data to identify P4 (catastrophically disabled) veterans, first by using the distribution of the limited set of disabilities identified in the ACS to predict the full disability distribution in a known data set (in that case, the National Long Term Care survey), and then taking that regression based mapping and applying it to veterans in the ACS at the county level, to build up the number of P4 veterans.

National Survey on Family Growth:

  • Nora Becker, PhD Student, the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania used the RDC in Maryland for her dissertation. She combined the 1995, 2002 and 2006-2010 waves of the National Survey on Family Growth to study the impact of state level contraceptive coverage mandates on contraceptive use. The restricted data gave her state-level individual identifiers not available in the public use version of the files.

National Health Interview Survey linked to Medicare Claims:

  • Daniel Polsky, Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, used the NHIS-Medicare claims files to determine whether there is pent-up demand for medical care among the uninsured by studying the pattern of medical care use among those who enter the Medicare program at 65 from a spell of Uninsurance. The analysis found a change in the mix of medical service use under Medicare for those who changed insurance status at age 65. Decker SL, Doshi JA, Knaup AE, Polsky D: Health Service Use Among the Previously Uninsured: Is Subsidized Health Insurance Enough? Health Economics 21(10): 1155-1168, 2012.

National Health Interview Survey linked to Medicaid MAX Claims:

  • Daniel Polsky, Executive Director, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, wanted to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Medicaid MAX files, a research file for all Medicaid claims. With the need to understand how Medicaid works and how it could work better these files could be of great benefit to the research community. However, with nearly 70% of Medicaid beneficiaries receiving some form of managed care, there is a general belief that MAX data are unreliable for tracking utilization. Because the degree of poor reliability will depend on the degree of capitation and because capitation is prominent in only certain contexts, a validation study could determine when MAX data are appropriate for research.


Sample References to Studies in Health Field Using FSRDC Health Datasets


  • Meyer BD, Wherry LR. Saving Teens: Using a Policy Discontinuity to Estimate the Effects of Medicaid Eligibility. National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012. (
  • Donoghue C, Castle NG. Organizational and environmental effects on voluntary and involuntary turnover. Health care management review 2007;32(4):360-9. (
  • Fang MC, McCarthy EP, Singer DE. Are patients more likely to see physicians of the same sex? Recent national trends in primary care medicine. The American journal of medicine 2004;117(8):575-81. (
  • Berdahl CT, Vermeulen MJ, Larson DB, et al. Emergency department computed tomography utilization in the United States and Canada. Annals of Emergency Medicine. 2013. (

National Health Interview Survey

  • Coughlin TA, Long SK, Graves JA. Does managed care improve access to care for Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities? A national study. Inquiry : a journal of medical care organization, provision and financing 2008;45(4):395-407. (
  • White C. A comparison of two approaches to increasing access to care: expanding coverage versus increasing physician fees. Health services research 2012;47(3 Pt 1):963-83. (
  • Stimpson JP, Pagan JA, Chen LW. Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in colorectal cancer screening is likely to require more than access to care. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2012;31(12):2747-54. (

State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (NSCH, CSHCN, NSAP, NSAP-SN)

  • Kreider AR, French B, Aysola J, et al. Quality of health insurance coverage and access to care for children in low-income families. Journal of American Medical Association Pediatrics. 2016;170(1):43-51. (

National Survey of Family Growth

  • Magnusson BM, Sabik L, Chapman DA, et al. Contraceptive insurance mandates and consistent contraceptive use among privately insured women. Medical Care 2012;50(7):562-8. (
  • Bitler M, Schmidt L. Health disparities and infertility: impacts of state-level insurance mandates. Fertility and sterility 2006;85(4):858-65. (

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

  • Mainous AG, 3rd, King DE, Garr DR, et al. Race, rural residence, and control of diabetes and hypertension. Annals of family medicine 2004;2(6):563-8. (
  • Gaskin DJ, Thorpe RJ, Jr., McGinty EE, et al. Disparities in diabetes: the nexus of race, poverty, and place. American journal of public health 2014;104(11):2147-55. (
  • Fletcher JM, Frisvold D, Tefft N. Taxing soft drinks and restricting access to vending machines to curb child obesity. Health affairs (Project Hope) 2010;29(5):1059-66. (

Other FSRDC Health Research Examples

  • Various additional examples of health-related research are available in the Demography/Sociology page.