August 25, 2021
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
The purpose of this Notice is to inform the research community of the National Institute on Aging’s (NIA) guidance and procedures related to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) data requests in NIA grant applications. This Notice includes guidance on budgeting CMS data costs in applications and the NIA procedure for facilitating access to data for grantees.
Effective beginning with applications submitted for the October 2021 Council round, applicants who require identifiable CMS data for their research projects must (1) contact the Research Data Assistance Center (ResDAC) (https://www.resdac.org/) to obtain direct cost estimates, (2) include these costs as direct costs in the application budget and budget justification sections, and (3) account for associated indirect costs proportionate to the amount requested in the direct costs.
The costs for identifiable CMS data must be within the total direct cost cap imposed by the relevant NIH funding opportunity announcement (FOA). In no case will the total direct costs of a grant award plus the costs of identifiable CMS data be allowed to exceed any total direct cost limits imposed by a FOA. Modular grants not providing detailed budget pages are required to specify the direct cost of CMS data budgeted per year in the “Additional Justification” section of the application.
NIA intends to maintain an interagency agreement (IAA) with CMS to pay CMS directly for CMS data used by grantees.
Applications Requesting CMS data greater than or equal to $10,000 in any year:
If an award is made, the recipient will be restricted from making CMS data purchases directly. NIA will reduce the award in the amount of CMS data costs budgeted in the application. NIA will use the IAA to pay for identifiable CMS data in the current budget period and in future budget periods, providing data access to the grantee.
If the actual direct cost of CMS data needed for the project is higher than the originally budgeted amount in the application, NIA will require further reduction to the grant after award.
The decision to either include funds in a grant award or to use the IAA to support the costs of identifiable CMS data will be at NIA’s discretion, depending on the amended data costs requested.
The following terms and conditions will apply to all applications requesting use of CMS data greater than or equal to $10,000 in any year:
RESTRICTION: Direct and indirect costs budgeted for CMS claims data purchases have been removed from this award. The grantee is restricted from making purchases for CMS claims data, CMS Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC) seat(s) and associated VRDC costs (e.g., STATA, virtual RAM, etc.) greater than or equal to $10,000 in any given year, and funds for this purpose may not be drawn down from payment management system (PMS) without the written consent of the National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA will facilitate access to CMS data through a NIA-CMS interagency agreement (IAA). If NIA is unable to facilitate access to CMS data, funds will be reinstated, and the restriction will be lifted. If the actual cost paid by NIA via IAA exceeds the removed budgeted cost, further adjustments to the award may be necessary.
Applications Requesting CMS data less than $10,000 in any or all years:
This guidance is not applicable if the budgeted and actual direct cost of CMS data is less than $10,000 in any or all years. In this case, the grantee will purchase the data themselves using funds awarded for this purpose and NIA’s IAA will not be used. The grantee must document that data costs will be less than $10,000 with NIA.
Partha Bhattacharyya, Ph.D.
National Insitute on Aging (NIA)