The Online Survey Certification and Reporting (OSCAR) system was an administrative database of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for many years. Effective July 2012, the OSCAR system was replaced by the Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting (CASPER) system and the Quality Improvement Evaluation System (QIES). CASPER/QIES are part of a large relational database operating within CMS' Automated Survey Processing Environment (ASPEN).
To download the skilled nursing facility (SNF) survey data file layouts in both OSCAR and CASPER/QIES formats, and related forms, click here.
The administrative purpose of CASPER/QIES survey data is to support the survey and certification function. Thus, every "institutional" health care provider in the United States that is certified to provide services under either Medicare or Medicaid (or both) is listed in the CASPER/QIES system.
Different types of providers report different information during the survey and certification process. As a result, survey data is a very rich source of information on some types of providers and not on others. The number of variables in the file reflects the intensity of the survey process for that provider type. The CASPER/QIES data for nursing homes is more extensive than for most other provider types due to the fact that the nursing home survey process is quite rigorous.
When facilities are surveyed, the new survey data overwrites the previous data, limiting the usefulness of survey data for research. To eliminate this problem, Cowles Research Group (CRG) routinely purchases and archives the complete survey database. An overview of the contents of the survey data for nursing homes can be found in the Nursing Home Statistical Yearbooks.