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Use of TennCare Data for Research

As the state Medicaid agency for Tennessee, and in its role as healthcare payer for its population, TennCare safeguards records, including those regarding payment for medical and pharmacy records for its member population and other provider related information. In the interest of promoting research into public health and improving outcomes of care, and in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974, HIPAA, and other federal and state laws or regulations, TennCare may make deidentified or identifiable records available for research purposes.

Interested individuals and organizations may submit an application for TennCare member data for research purposes.  Applications are evaluated by TennCare based on their potential for providing valuable research and/or analysis to the TennCare program and/or public health at large and are balanced with TennCare resources, privacy and legal concerns, and other competing projects in the public interest.

Research Data Policy and Application

You may review the TennCare research data policy linked below to learn more about the application and evaluation process.  The application requires a variety of details as to the scope and aims of the project including:

  • Organizations and individuals conducting, sponsoring and/or funding the research project
  • Prior or anticipated Institutional Review Board (IRB) approvals
  • Study Protocol and/or abstract and hypotheses
  • Anticipated method or publication/release of findings
  • Parameters of the data requested (data fields, time frames)
  • Identification/deidentification and data set linkage/matching anticipated
  • Privacy and security measures applied to the data, including storage, access, transfer and disposition.

To ensure appropriate stewardship of agency resources, applications are evaluated for merit and projects are prioritized by an internal TennCare multi-disciplinary team including medical, data and compliance members.  Generally, only applications for projects deemed to be in the best interest of the TennCare member population are approved.  

For approved applications, TennCare may require that appropriate legal agreements be signed prior to data being released. For successful applications, TennCare retains the right for prior review and approval on publications or presentations based on TennCare data to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the findings and conclusions. Further, the volume and timing of shared data may be dependent on the availability of data and prioritization of other projects.

Policy on Use of TennCare Data for Research

Application to Use TennCare Data for Research