Description is a product of the Shaping Long-Term Care in America Project being conducted at the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research and supported, in part, by the National Institute on Aging. The website hosts data regarding the health and functional status of nursing home residents, characteristics of care facilities, state policies relevant to long term care services and financing, and data characterizing the markets in which facilities exist and, in the future, we plan to expand to include information about other sectors of the long-term care system. These data will allow researchers to examine the relationship between state policies and local market forces and the quality of long-term care. Researchers can use this website to examine care processes and resident outcomes within the context of their local markets and regulatory practices. Policymakers can use the information to shape state and local guidelines, policies, and regulations that promote high-quality, cost-effective, equitable care to older Americans. Together, it is anticipated that these audiences will have the data, tools, and results to better understand the long-term care system, and to achieve improvements in how care is organized, financed, and delivered. The website brings together data gathered from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including MDS, OSCAR, and a variety of other sources that characterize the policy environment and local market forces affecting nursing home providers. 

How to Use This Website provides users with research abstracts and publications, allows users to create their own customized maps, and provides all data on the site for download. The website allows users to customize maps to gather information by state, county, or individual facility, including information on facility characteristics, geo-coded facility locations, resident characteristics, local market characteristics, facility staffing, admissions, quality, and state long-term care policies. National maps can be created which display state level data and state maps can be created which display data at the facility and county level. All data on this website is also available to download.

Data Sources

Online Survey Certification And Reporting (OSCAR)/Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting (CASPER) 

OSCAR/CASPER data are administrative data collected by state survey agencies during nursing facility annual certification inspections. The OSCAR/CASPER data are maintained by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Inspection surveys generally occur at least once every 15 months and all data gathered during inspections are compiled in the OSCAR/CASPER database. The database includes data on nursing home organizational characteristics, aggregate resident characteristics, staffing, and quality deficiencies identified during inspections.

Minimum Data Set (MDS)

MDS data are resident level data related to resident clinical and functional status. The MDS is collected for every nursing home resident on admission and at least quarterly thereafter. Data include the resident's diagnoses, treatments, medications, activities of daily living (ADL), and mood/behaviors. No resident level data are available on this website, instead MDS data have been aggregated to the facility, county, and state levels. We've created two forms of MDS aggregates for this website: prevalence measures are based on all residents in the facility, county, or state on the first Thursday in April, and incidence measures, which are based on all admissions in the facility, county, or state in each calendar year.

State Policy Data

Beginning in early 2002, our research team developed and implemented a protocol for collecting data about state policies from Medicaid officials. Building on the State Medicaid policy book assembled by Charlene Harrington and colleagues, the survey gathers information on states' Medicaid policies, payment rates, reimbursement methodology, and bed hold policies, among others.

Area Resource File (ARF)

The ARF is a national county level health resources database maintained by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HSRA). It contains data about the health professionals and facilities in each county. The ARF is available annually and contains data gathered from the Census Bureau, CMS, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among others.

Residential History File (RHF)

The RHF is a data resource developed at the Brown University Center for Gerontology and Healthcare Research. It is built using Medicare Enrollment data, Medicare claims data, and MDS data. It can be used to track individuals as they move through the long-term care system, including between different care settings and different care types (e.g. hospice). We use this to calculate re-hospitalization rates, etc.

Click here for an article on the RHF methodology.


Data are available on this website for public use, but must be cited when used in publications or presentations. Please use the following citation for that purpose:

"Shaping Long Term Care in America Project at Brown University funded in part by the National Institute on Aging (1P01AG027296)."

Privacy Policy

We require you to register with this website before you download data. This includes providing your name, e-mail address, and university or organization affiliation. We use this information simply to track website use and to help ensure that those using data available on the website are properly citing it in publications. Those not interested in downloading data may also sign up for our mailing list. We use our mailing list to inform interested people about new publications, data releases, and major enhancements to the website. This is the only purpose for which we will use your information. We will not share the information you provide when registering or signing up for the mailing list with anyone.

Related Links

Brown University Center for Gerontology & Healthcare Research
Facts on Dying
Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts
The Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare
AARP Research Center
The Commonwealth Fund