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Brain health

Cancer trends

Certified geriatricians and geriatric psychiatrists

County data

CMS data

Data and statistics on older Americans


Direct care workers: State-by-state data


End-of-life care


Global burden of disease

Global statistics on aging

Home care and hospice

Hospital survey data

Long-term care



National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project (NSHAP)

Nursing homes

Palliative care

Prescribing patterns


Brain health

dataset from the Aging, Dementia and Traumatic Brain injury trial is available from The Allen Institute for Brain Science. The study pulls from at the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) Study. It drills down to nervous system, molecular and transciptome levels of brains and TBI exposure from a longitudinal population-based prospective cohort study of brain aging and incident dementia in the Seattle metropolitan area. The site’s overview page provides a tutorial on finding relationships between samples and parameters. 

Cancer trends

Cancer Statistics Center: The American Cancer Society has unveiled a database on incidence and death rates for the most common types of cancer. Stats are downloadable as Excel files and some can be imported into other analysis tools. It’s a way to get a quick view of overall trends — for example, look at the lung cancer rates and how they begin trending downward in the 1990s as more anti-tobacco efforts gained traction.

Certified Geriatricians and Geriatric Physicians (Now & projected)

The American Geriatrics Society Data Center has distributions and projections of geriatricians and geriatric psychiatrists for populations aged 75 and older (2012). This ever-increasing aging population requires more geriatric specialists, but currently, only about 7 percent of providers specialize.  AGS data shows where they are and how many more are needed to address the growing need. 

CMS data

Dartmouth Atlas Rate Request Generator from the Center for Translational Population Research at Dartmouth University. Get region-specific data and perform comparisons and analysis of the United States health care system using Medicare claims data. These raw claims datasets are obtained from CMS on an annual basis, then processed and analyzed to develop aggregated datasets, which contain specific measures across national, regional, and local markets.

State breakdown of electronic health records payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers through Nov. 30, 2016:

Medicare Hospice Utilization and Payment Public Use File (PUF) for 2014 — with information on services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by hospice providers. The Hospice PUF contains data on utilization, payment (Medicare payment and standard payment), submitted charges, primary diagnoses, sites of service, and hospice beneficiary demographics organized by CMS Certification Number (6-digit provider identification number), and state. This PUF is based on information from CMS’s Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse (CCW) data files. 

Public data resources on chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries  — new and updated information on chronic conditions among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. The public data are available from the CMS website, and include data on prevalence, utilization of select Medicare services, and Medicare spending.

  • New chronic conditions – chronic viral hepatitis (B & C), HIV/AIDS;
  • New Interactive Atlas of Chronic Conditions – a GIS tool to examine geographic variability in chronic conditions;
  • Updated geographic data for the years 2007-2014 summarized to national, state, county, and hospital referral regions levels;
  • Updated interactive dashboards with 2014 data. slice and dice by beneficiary characteristics, single or multiple CCs or comorbidities. wealth of information in these statistics.

The CMS Program Statistics website replaces the former Medicare and Medicaid Statistical Supplement, which was published annually in electronic form from 2001-13. The website will include more than 100 detailed data tables on national health care, Medicare populations, utilization, and expenditures, as well as counts for Medicare-certified institutional and non-institutional providers. The first two sections, which include information on national health expenditures, life expectancy, population projections, and Medicare enrollment and providers have been released. Additional sections will be released on a rolling basis.

CMS Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey2013 Characteristics and Perceptions of the Medicare Population data 2013

Medicare Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Part D Prescriber: Information on the prescription drugs that individual physicians and other health care providers prescribed in 2013 under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program. The Part D Prescriber PUF is based on information from CMS’s Prescription Drug Event Standard Analytic File, which has final-action claims that are submitted by Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MAPD) plans and by stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP).

CMS has updated several Data Navigator databases. The Shared Savings Program Accountable Care Organizations (SSP ACO) public-use file contains ACO-specific metrics and summaries of beneficiary and provider information for each year of the SSP. CMS has also created an SSP ACO research-identifiable file, which contains a record of every beneficiary who participated in the SSP, including data comparing ACO participants and non-ACO participants, and the extent to which ACO participants receive care outside the ACO. 

Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey files: cost and use (2011); access to care (2012)
CMS has just made available the latest Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data. This annual questionnaire is a continuous, multipurpose survey of a nationally representative sample of the Medicare population, to determine expenditures and sources of payment for all services used by Medicare beneficiaries. The Access to Care file contains information on beneficiaries' access to health care, satisfaction with care and usual source of care. The MCBS Cost and Use files link Medicare claims to survey-reported events and provides complete expenditure and source of payment data on all health care services, including those not covered by Medicare. Data tables are downloadable as zip files.

Hospital outpatient data: The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has released downloadable hospital outpatient charge data for CY 2011. Chargemaster costs for 30 Ambulatory Payment Classification groups (APC) under the Outpatient Medicare Prospective Payment System [OMPPS]  for estimated average charges and the average Medicare payments provided at the individual hospital level are quantified. This follows last month's release of Medicare hospital in-patient charge data. Files are available in both Excel and CSV versions.

CMS Fast Facts is a regularly updated, quick reference statistical summary on annual CMS program and financial data.  It includes summary information on total program enrollment, utilization, expenditures, as well as total number of Medicare providers including physicians by specialty area.  The most recent data set includes:
    •    Medicare and Medicaid Populations
    •    Medicare FFS Persons Served and Payments by Type of Service, 2012
    •    Medicare Part D Utilization and Expenditures, 2012
    •    Medicare Prepaid Contracts, September 2013
    •    Medicaid Beneficiaries and Payments by Selected Type of Service, 2010

More detailed summary data can be found in the Medicare & Medicaid Statistical Supplement and the CMS Statistics Reference Booklet.

CMS Open Payments Data: The agency has updated its open payments database to include information on data published as of Sept.30, 2014, on applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations' financial relationships with physicians and hospitals.

County data

Atlas of Rural and Small Town America: County-level data for population change overall and by demographic group, includes 60 socioeconomic indicators; ongoing updates.

500 cities projectThe 500 Cities project is a collaboration between CDC, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the CDC Foundation. The purpose of the 500 Cities project is to provide city- and census tract-level small area estimates for chronic disease risk factors, health outcomes, and clinical preventive service use for the largest 500 cities in the United States. These small area estimates allow cities and local health departments to better understand the burden and geographic distribution of health-related variables in their jurisdictions, and help them plan public health interventions. Get downloadable data, maps, and links to programs/interventions.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has updated its County Health Rankings for 2016. This interactive resources slices and dices a wealth of community health measures; you can drill down and compare different counties or analyze in-state rankings on criteria ranging from obesity to socio economics to preventable hospital stays. 

Data and statistics on older Americans

Institute for Health Metrics & Evaluation (IMHE) Data visualization map for all causes of death: With this interactive map, you can explore health trends in the United States at the county level for both sexes for:

  • 21 major causes of death, including
  • Life expectancy
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Alcohol use
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes

Adjustable settings can be applied for year, cause of death and sex. There’s also a menu to explore time trends for specific counties. Data is also downloadable for further analysis.

AGID (Aging Integrated Database): From the Administration on Community Living, this query system based on ACL-related data files and surveys includes population characteristics from the Census Bureau for comparison purposes. Find/download data for topics ranging from from Older Americans Act programs to annual spending on elder abuse. Different levels of focus and aggregation of the data are available – including full database access within Data Files. Data is currently available for 2009-2014.

DataExplorer is a free interactive search and visualization tool for data on the 50-plus population. Users can browse and search for information on issues like demographics, health, financial security, housing and transportation by indicators that include age, race/ethnicity, state, income, health status, and languages spoken.

Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts: This poverty database provides a quick overview and comparison of percent and number of  people living in poverty rate by age and state, accessible in table or map format. Raw data is available for download so you can do your own analysis. 

Health, United States, 2013 American Indian or Alaska Native Population:This is a great place to start if covering the health of Native American/Alaskan Native Elders. Data through 2012 on topics like emergency room visits, no usual source of care and health status are available in both pdf and Excel format.

The Digital Ageing Atlas is a portal of age-related changes covering different biological levels. It integrates molecular, physiological, psychological and pathological age-related data to create an interactive portal that serves as the first centralised collection of human ageing changes and pathologies.

The RAND Health and Retirement Study (HRS) Data is a cleaned and easy-to-use version of data from eleven waves of the Health and Retirement Study data, which includes five entry cohorts:

  • The original 1992 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) cohort

  • The 1993 Study of Assets and Health Dynamics (AHEAD) cohort

  • The Children of Depression and War Baby cohorts entering in 1998

  • The Early Baby Boomer cohort entering in 2004. 

Derived variables covering a broad (though not complete) range of measures have been constructed. Registration is required; a password will be issued within 24 hours. follow the "Datasets and Files" link, then the "RAND Contributed Files" link.

The National Health and Aging Trends Study database (NHATS) is a relatively new resource for the scientific study of functioning in later life. The study is being conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, with support from the National Institute on Aging. NHATS gathers information via in-person interviews on a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries on activities of daily life, living arrangements, economic status and well-being, aspects of early life, and quality of life.
Registration (free) is required to access public use data. Additional data is available for institutional researchers.
Among the specific content areas included are: the general and technological environment of the home, health conditions, work status and participation in valued activities, mobility and use of assistive devices. Downloadable ZIP files contain information on:

  • Sample Person File (SP File) which includes data from both the SP Interview and the Facility Questionnaire (FQ) Interview
  • Other Person File (OP File) which includes data for individuals named in the SP interview as:
    • Proxy respondent
    • Household members
    • Children not residing in SP’s Household
    • Social network members
    • Helpers with mobility, driving and transportation, self-care, household activities and medical care
    • Person the SP is caring for

Statistics on the Aging Population: This page from the Administration on Aging offers census info, minority statistics and historical population estimates.

This Aging Data and Statistics Web site brings together information sources from across CDC. The site offers data about life expectancy, rates of death from specific causes, numbers of people with chronic diseases, health behavior and more.

Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics: A collection of federal reports and summary data related to the aging American population.

Basic statistics on older Americans (from the Administration on Aging) 

A comprehensive profile of older Americans (from the Administration on Aging):

A directory of programs serving older Americans across the country, called the ElderCare Locator

Healthy Aging Data Portfolio: This database from the Centers for Disease Control provides the ability to cross reference specific geographic locations with specific diseases, risks, and health objectives.


America’s families and living arrangements, 2016: Census data includes age, household arrangements, family groups and sociodemographics.

Atlas of Rural and Small Town America: County-level data for population change overall and by demographic group, includes 60 socioeconomic indicators; ongoing updates.

D-Place: The Database of Places, Language, Culture and Environment is an expandable, open access database that brings together diverse information on the language, geography, culture and environment of more than 1,400 human societies. It primarily includes information on pre-industrial societies in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Users can search by cultural practice (e.g., monogamy vs. polygamy), environmental variable (e.g. elevation, mean annual temperature), language family (e.g. Indo-European, Austronesian), or region (e.g. Siberia). The search results can be displayed on a map, a language tree or in a table, and can also be downloaded for further analysis. The goal is to help researchers investigate patterns in cultural diversity which shaped by different forces, including shared history, demographics, migration/diffusion, cultural innovations, and environmental and ecological conditions. D-PLACE was developed by an international team of scientists interested in cross-cultural research. 

The Census Bureau has a wealth of resources about aging. You can find dozens of reports on the aging population broken down by race, sex, household, and other characteristics. You can track down ages, types of disabilities, poverty status and even health insurance for most places. While Census data has a well-deserved reputation for complexity that often requires advanced computer skills, you can find useful information with just a few mouse clicks – if you know where to look. In this tip sheet, "Using Census data for health reporting," veteran reporter Frank Bass shows you – step by step – what you can learn from Census data and how to find that information. The Census Bureau also publishes population tables full of valuable data about the older population. 

The Administration on Aging features the latest census data on aging.

The AOA has data on the projected future growth of the aging population (by age, gender, race, state).

Data about minorities and aging, again from the Administration on Aging. 

American households are getting older, the Census Bureau reports in America’s Families and Living Arrangements:  2012

Direct care workers: State-by-state data

Learn how many nursing aides, home health aides, and personal care aides work in each state. Direct care workers are important source of help to the elderly.


The Disability and Health Data System (DHDS) has state-level health and demographic data about adults with disabilities broken by type, demographics and other criteria.

End-of-life care

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care publishes extensive data on intensity of spending on medical services at the end of life in various locations across the country.


Snapshot of poverty among seniors – supplemental poverty measure: Poverty rates are traditionally measured using a threshold of three times the subsistence food budget from 1963 – adjusted for inflation. This varies depending on size of a family and age of family members. Thresholds are lower for families with elderly members. Another measure, the supplemental poverty measure, uses recommendations from a 1995 National Academy of Science Panel. Poverty thresholds are determined from recent patterns of expenditures for basic necessities, plus a small additional allowance, then adjusted for regional differences in housing prices and home ownership. It does not differentiate between adults older or younger than age 65. Tax credits and benefits such as food stamps are considered income; job-related expenses, income tax and health care expenditures are deducted. In 2009, half of all seniors spent at least 16 percent of their income on health care according to Kaiser Family Foundation.

Economic status of older Americans

This Economic Security Database measures how much older people need to make ends meet on a state-by-state basis (health care expenses are included) and compares that to average incomes for seniors.

An online interactive map from Genworth Financial compares median long-term care costs by state, region, or type of care shows nursing home costs continue to rise. In 2013. The median cost for a semi-private room was $207 per day, or $75,555 per year. That is a 3.3 percent jump since 2012, and an overall 4.3 percent rise over five years. Private room costs increased 3.6 percent from 2012 to 2013, to $83,950 annually; 4.5 percent higher over 5 years. A new report by the company, includes data based on surveys of over 15,000 providers in 437 regions throughout the U.S. Links to  a breakout of key findings, an explanation of methodology, and a briefing paper on long-term care's real impact on a caregiver's career, family dynamics and financial security are also available.  

The Federal Inter-Agency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics has data about what kinds of resources people have to tide them through retirement.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics compiles data on retirement benefits provided through the workplace.

The Employee Benefits Retirement Institute also publishes data on retirement and how much money people have saved for that time of life. 

Unemployment statistics for older Americans: The data, broken down by gender, education, race, and ethnicity, spans the period from Nov. 2007 to Feb. 2012.

Global Burden of Disease

Data on global and regional estimates for mortality, disability, disease burden, life expectancy, and risk factors from GBD 2010 downloaded from the Global Health Data Exchange (GHDx).  Data visualization tools are available.

Global statistics on aging

According to the global age watch index, Switzerland tops the list when it comes to how well its aging population fares. How does the rest of the world rank? The 2015 index provides tables, maps and tools to compare results of various countries. There are also infographics focused specifically on older women, methodology reports and other data to explore.

RAND's Survey Meta Data Repository has statistics on health, demographics, social determinants, economics and other factors can be compared and contrasted across countries and years in easy-to-understand tables, charts and graphs. Numerous research papers on health and socioeconomics are available, The Survey Meta Data Repository is a collection of HRS-family survey data. It includes a digital library of survey questions, a search engine for finding comparable questions across the surveys, and a set of identically defined variables for cross-country analysis. RAND's Health and Retirement Study is a main source of the data.

Global AgeWatch Index 2013: In what they say is a first-of-its-kind study, the Global AgeWatch Index 2013 ranks the wellbeing of aging individuals around the world. Using the indicators of income security, health status, employment and education, and enabling environment, HelpAge International ranked more than 90 countries worldwide based upon data gathered from various international datasets.

The U.S. ranks eighth overall, scoring high in the education and employment categories, However, the U.S. is just 36th of 91 in the income security category and 24th in the health category. When comparing health status alone, it's perhaps not surprising that the U.S. ranks below Canada, Sweden, Japan, or Australia, but it also fares more poorly than Israel, Cyprus, Costa Rica and Equador, and just barely above Panama and Columbia.

The site provides interactive tools to create visualizations and compare countries. Report cards on each nation are accessible for a more detailed breakdown of Global Age Watch rankings. Data for each country is also available for download.

Home care and hospice

In July 2015, CMS released Home Health Compare, which allows consumers to assess quality of patient care star ratings on an agency’s relative performance for 9 of the 29 quality measures. Ratings are calculated using information from patient assessments performed by the HHA and from Medicare claims submitted by the HHA.

In November 2013, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization issued a report on trends in hospice care use in 2011 and 2012. In 2012, 83.4 percent of hospice patients were 65 years of age or older, and more than half (56.4 percent) were female. While use of hospice in private residences remained steady at 41.6 percent, hospice use in nursing homes declined slightly, to 17.2 percent in 2012 from 18.3 percent in 2011. Among all hospice patients, cancer deaths comprised 25 percent of mortalities; In 2012, the top non-cancer primary diagnoses for patients admitted to hospice in 2012 were debility unspeci?ed (14.2 percent), dementia (12.8 percent), heart disease (11.2 percent), and lung disease (8.2 percent). The full report is available for download as a pdf. In a press release announcing the report, NHPCO officials expressed concern over short-term hospice stays of seven days or less. According to the organization, "In 2012, 35.5 percent died or were discharged within seven days of admission, a statistic consistent with the previous year."

If you cover the home health care industry, NAHC is a good place to start for industry data on utilization, Medicare vs. private pay, worker profiles, and expenditures. Many of the statistical documents include tables, charts, and graphs. There is a state-by-state breakout tool available to registered NAHC users; however the press office is accommodating and will work with you on specific needs.

PHI provides data on each state's home health care workforce.

Hospital survey data

The American Hospital Association Data Viewer has comprehensive hospital survey data from the American Hospital Association, including more than 1,000 data fields on 6,500 hospitals. You can Identify, analyze, and compare health care trends with custom reports or grab one of their quick reports on the most commonly requested stats. Provides both big picture and highly targeted results on data such as utilization, demographics, expenses and staffing.

Long-term care was developed by the Brown University School of Medicine. The goal is to allow researchers to see relationships between programs, policy, and local markets; and to help policymakers create guidelines for more equitable and higher quality long term care for older adults. It allows for online creation of custom reports from many different sources, as well as access to pre-made reports and a downloadable database. 

Genworth Financial provides data on long-term care costs in each state by type of care.


State breakdown of electronic health records payments to Medicare and Medicaid providers through Nov. 30, 2016:

Utilization of products, services by Medicare beneficiaries

CMS has released a data set on Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Referring Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies (DMEPOS) Public Use File. It contains information on products and services provided to Medicare beneficiaries ordered by physicians and other health care professionals.

Medicare Part D Prescriber Look-up Tool

CMS has released a new Medicare Part D Prescriber Look-up Tool. Data from the 2013 Medicare Part D Prescriber Public Use File can now be easily searched to find information on drugs prescribed by physicians and other practitioners for Medicare beneficiaries. Information available include drug name, number of prescriptions dispensed (including original prescriptions and refills) and drug cost.

Medicare hospital utilization and payment data

In June 2015, CMS released updated Medicare hospital utilization and payment data for both inpatient and outpatient billing and the physician and other supplier utilization and payment data

The Medicare hospital utilization and payment data consists of information for 2013 about the average amount a hospital bills for services that may be provided in an inpatient stay or outpatient visit. The hospital data includes payment and utilization information for services that may be provided in connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays and 30 selected outpatient procedures at over 3,000 hospitals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. 

HHS data shows improved care and savings

The data in this May 2014 report shows a 9 percent decrease in harms experienced by patients in hospitals in 2012 compared to the 2010 baseline, and an 8 percent decrease in Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) 30-day readmissions. According to HHS, “National reductions in adverse drug events, falls, infections and other forms of harm are estimated to have prevented nearly 15,000 deaths in hospitals, and saved $4.1 billion in costs, and prevented 560,000 patient harms in 2011 and 2012.”

Data sets from fiscal year 2011

Downloadable data sets for FY 2011 specify hospital charges for the top 100 DRGs (diagnosis related group codes) for the 3,000 U.S. hospitals that receive Medicare fee-for-service reimbursement – known as the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System. Rates are set through a hospital "charge master"  for every procedure – akin to the MSRP on a car. Medicare and private insurance companies negotiate lower fixed-price payments for these procedures, frequently at a significant discount.  Uninsured consumers, or those with high out-of-pocket deductibles, are often billed at  "full price" for these same procedures. This public data set allows for cross referencing and analysis by DRG code, city, state or ZIP code, to compare charges. Please read the explanatory information on the first two tabs before working with the data. Files are available for MS Excel as an .xls document or as a CSV file for use in statistical programs like SPSS.

The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care publishes extensive data about Medicare costs in various locations across the country.


The Human Mortality Database (HMD) was created by the World Health Organization to provide detailed mortality and population data about the history of human longevity. The project grew out of previous work in the Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley and at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany.  It includes detailed population and mortality data to date for 37 countries.

National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project

The  NSHAP is a longitudinal, population-based study of health and social factors, aiming to understand the well-being of older, community-dwelling Americans by examining the interactions among physical health and illness, medication use, cognitive function, emotional health, sensory function, health behaviors, social connectedness, sexuality, and relationship quality. By eliciting a variety of information from respondents over time, it provides data that will allow researchers in a number of fields to examine how specific factors may or may not affect each other across the life course.

In 2005 and 2006, NORC and Principal Investigators at the University of Chicago conducted the first wave of NSHAP, completing more than 3,000 interviews with a nationally representative sample of adults aged 57 to 85. In 2010 and 2011, nearly 3,400 interviews were completed for Wave 2 with these Wave 1 Respondents, Wave 1 Non-Interviewed Respondents, and their spouses or cohabiting romantic partners. The second wave of NSHAP is essential to understanding how social and biological characteristics change. NSHAP.

For both waves, data collection included three measurements: in-home interviews, biomeasures, and leave-behind respondent-administered questionnaires. The face-to-face interviews and biomeasure collection took place in respondents' homes.

Download wave 2 data files here
Instructions and support materials are here

Nursing homes

Nursing Home Compare database

Courtesy of the CDC and Brian Donnelly, LifeSpan FurnishingsIn November 2007, the U.S. Medicare Web site released detailed information about every Medicare and Medicaid-certified nursing home in the country. Nursing Home Compare uses data compiled from inspections and compares health and fire safety concerns as well as quality measures and staffing information. Nursing Home Compare, according to the Medicare website, is meant to provide information to help individuals, family members, caregivers, and those who assist them find and compare nursing homes and make informed decisions about nursing home care. AHCJ has reduced key elements in Nursing Compare data into more manageable formats in Excel spreadsheets.

A public data set from CMS, Skilled Nursing Facility Utilization and Payment Public Use File (SNF PUF) is now available. It provides information on services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) with information on utilization, payments, and submitted charges organized by provider, state, and resource utilization group (RUG).
The data include information on 15,055 skilled nursing facilities, over 2.5 million stays, and almost $27 billion in Medicare payments for 2013. The data set does not contain any individually identifiable information about Medicare beneficiaries.The Skilled Nursing Facility PUF contains five tables: 1) aggregated information by provider, 2) aggregated information by provider and RUG, 3) aggregated information by RUG, 4) aggregated information by RUG and state, and 5) aggregated information on therapy minutes by provider. Data is available as Microsoft Excel files.

Finding patterns and trends in health data: Pivot tables in spreadsheets: Excel pivot tables are a powerful way to organize, interpret and manipulate numerical data. In this tip sheet, reporters learn the skills necessary to apply these tables in real-world situations, including analyzing the Nursing Home Compare data.

Nursing Homes: Special Focus Facility Initiative – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services releases a list of nursing homes in its Special Focus Facility Initiative. These are homes that "(a) have had a history of serious quality issues and (b) are included in a special program to stimulate improvements in their quality of care." The SFF Initiative is intended to address nursing homes that cycle in and out of compliance based on inspections. Nursing homes in this program are visited in person by survey teams twice as frequently as other nursing homes (about twice per year). This list includes nursing homes that have failed to show significant improvement, nursing homes that have shown significant improvement, nursing homes that have sustained significant improvement for about 12 months and nursing homes that were either terminated by CMS from participation in Medicare and Medicaid within the past few months, or voluntarily chose not to continue such participation. 

Palliative care

State-by-state scorecard on access to palliative care services.

Prescribing patterns

Percent of New York State nursing home residents on antipsychotics; over state average: Newsday has pieced together a terrific database of New York metro nursing homes using data from state and federal databases to map where nursing home residents are likely overmedicated. Deficiencies cited by the state for the past 3 years are also indicated. This is a great interactive tool for local reporters to use for follow up and further investigation — and a good model for other media as an example on how to localize similar data.

This database from the Dartmouth Atlas Project provides a wealth of information for journalists and researchers to gain insight into prescribing patterns, use and costs by city, state, or region. As the report accompanying this database notes, wide variations are seen in the use of certain high risk drugs and low cost more proven therapies, with providers in some communities routinely prescribing many more high-risk drugs for patients than average. Number of prescriptions filled, overall Rx spending, and breakdowns of high, discretionary, and common, low-risk drugs are quantified, as are brand name vs. generic drugs.  Information here is from 2010 only.


For a snapshot of older Americans and their well being, broken down by key indicators:

The New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies published an in-depth look, chock full of data, at the impact of the state’s aging population on its health care system.