Using State Data to Paint a National Picture: MAX and Alpha-MAX Data Production

2013-2018
Prepared for
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) tests innovative payment and service delivery models to reduce program expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care. This project supports innovation strategies to improve care among Medicaid beneficiaries, such as the Money Follows the Person Demonstration and the Medicaid Emergency Psychiatric Demonstration, by helping to produce complete and accurate data about the people receiving care, types of services received, and cost of services.  

This project continues Mathematica’s long history of producing Medicaid administrative files, including Medicaid Analytic eXtract (MAX) and Alpha-MAX, specifically designed for researchers. MAX contains annual, person-level data files containing Medicaid eligibility, service utilization, and payments, which are derived from the Medicaid Statistical Information System (MSIS) files submitted by the 50 states and the District of Columbia to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The MAX data are tailored to each state’s program needs, and Mathematica’s work ensures that the federal government, state government, and other research organizations can use the files to produce a national picture of the health care system.

The project involves producing MAX and Alpha-MAX 2010 through 2015 data files. The MAX project team has also released the MAX 2010 chartbook, including graphs and tables to showcase national and state-level Medicaid enrollment, service utilization, and expenditures, and highlights of the types of research on Medicaid enrollment and service utilization that are possible with MAX data. The project also has produced a series of issue briefs. Information on MAX is available on the internet at https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Computer-Data-and-Systems/MedicaidDataSourcesGenInfo/MAXGeneralInformation.html.