This brief describes a joint project of the ASPE and the Office of Refugee Resettlement in the Administration for Children and Families to enhance the data infrastructure of agencies managing refugees and Medicaid services. This project is funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.
The United States refugee resettlement program is the largest in the world, welcoming over three million people since the 1970s. Refugees may arrive with health issues and health care needs, but the research needed to understand and improve refugees’ health and well-being has been limited by gaps in relevant data. Though over 60 percent of recently arrived refugees with health insurance have Medicaid coverage, little is known about the enrollment trends and utilization of Medicaid-funded services. Currently, data from Medicaid systems do not contain information on refugee status, and data on refugee resettlement do not contain information on Medicaid receipt. To address these limitations, this project will develop, implement, and evaluate methods for linking data from two HHS administrative data systems: the Refugee Arrivals Data System (RADS) and the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System Analytic Files (TAF). RADS contains records on all refugees, asylees, and other populations served by ORR. TAF contains Medicaid claims from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.