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Dec 7 --  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) seek OMB approval for a revision to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) and invites the public to comment on this request by January 11, 2021.
 
The MCBS is the most comprehensive and complete survey available on the Medicare population and is essential in capturing data not otherwise collected through our operations. The MCBS is a nationally-representative, longitudinal survey of Medicare beneficiaries that we sponsor and is directed by the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA). The survey is usually conducted in-person but can also be conducted by phone. It captures beneficiary information whether aged or disabled, living in the community or facility, or serviced by managed care or fee-for-service. Data produced as part of the MCBS are enhanced with our administrative data (e.g., fee-for-service claims, prescription drug event data, enrollment, etc.) to provide users with more accurate and complete estimates of total health care costs and utilization. The MCBS has been continuously fielded for more than 28 years, encompassing over 1 million interviews and more than 100,000 survey participants. Respondents participate in up to 11 interviews over a four-year period. This gives a comprehensive picture of health care costs and utilization over a period of time.

The MCBS continues to provide unique insight into the Medicare program and helps CMS and our external stakeholders better understand and evaluate the impact of existing programs and significant new policy initiatives. In the past, MCBS data have been used to assess potential changes to the Medicare program. For example, the MCBS was instrumental in supporting the development and implementation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit by providing a means to evaluate prescription drug costs and out-of-pocket burden for these drugs to Medicare beneficiaries.  
 
Beginning in 2021, this proposed revision to the clearance will add a few new measures to existing questionnaire sections and will add a new COVID-19 Questionnaire section previously approved by OMB on August 7, 2020 under Emergency Clearance 0938-1379 for administration in Fall 2020 Round 88. This request also includes two new questions to the Housing Characteristics Questionnaire (HAQ) on housing insecurity and one new question to the Health Status and Functioning Questionnaire (HFQ) about social isolation. And, it includes a one-time request to administer the COVID-19 items in Winter 2021 to an oversample of Medicare beneficiaries aligned to a provider that participates in the Next Generation Accountable Care Organization (NextGen ACO) Model.
 
MCBS webpage: https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Research/MCBS
CMS submission to OMB:  https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202011-0938-011  Click on IC List for proposed forms, View Supporting Statement for narrative on proposed changes, methods, and plans.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/12/07/2020-26862/agency-information-collection-activities-submission-for-omb-review-comment-request   Look under Supplementary Information, section 3.   
 
Point of contact: William Long, CMS Project Officer, Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services william.long@cms.hhs.gov 410-786-7927

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