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Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) Support

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Request for Proposals

Solicitation No. AHRQ-02-0005; (Full and Open Competition, with Recommended Small Business Goals)

Proposals Due: March 4, 2002

Contracting Office: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Division of Contracts Management, 2101 East Jefferson Street, Suite 502, Rockville, MD 20852.

The synopsis for this requirement was published in Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) on November 26, 2001. The solicitation was issued on December 21, 2001. Full text can be downloaded from the AHRQ Web site. Select to access Downloading Information.

A Performance-Based Cost Plus Award Fee type contract is contemplated for a period of 3 years plus two Option Periods of 3 years each. It is anticipated that Option Period 1 may be issued at the end of Year 1 of the contract and Option Period 2 at the end of Year 2 of the contract. Therefore the total period of performance of this contract, including the options, if exercised, is 5 years. It is expected that one award will be made for this requirement.

Background and Purpose

The purpose of this contract shall be to conduct:

  • The Household Component of the Medical Panel Expenditure Survey (MEPS).
  • The Medical Provider Component of MEPS.
  • The associated data processing to produce analytic files.

The MEPS is managed in the Center for Cost and Financing Studies of AHRQ. MEPS is a longitudinal overlapping panel survey. Households enrolled in MEPS participated in the National Health Interview Survey during a prior year. Each household is interviewed five times during a 30-month period to support 2 years of estimates for utilization, expenditures, and health insurance. In addition, a follow-back survey of medical providers-physicians, hospitals, home health agencies and pharmacies-is conducted each year to support the construction of national estimates of medical expenses.

The initial household sample is 9,000 dwelling units and the number of interviews per round will vary between 15,000 and more than 21,000 if the option periods are exercised. For the Medical Provider Component, data will need to be collected on more than 11,000 patient-hospital pairs, 30,000 patient-physician pairs, and more than 21,000 patient-pharmacy pairs.

Data collected in MEPS are subjected to significant analytical and statistical editing and imputation for missing values. For each year of the survey, 12 key analytic files are produced.

The MEPS Web site ( provides substantial information on MEPS data collection and data files. The MEPS Household Component is conducted with computer-assisted personal interviewing, supplemented by periodic self-administered questionnaires. The Medical Provider Component data is collected via mail, phone and fax with paper and pencil instruments. The instruments can be located on the MEPS Web site at

The MEPS Web site is also the main vehicle for data product dissemination. A complete set of public use files for 1996 and 1997 is available on the Web site and can be used as a guide for the level of complexity of the analytic file development tasks.

The primary objective of MEPS is to provide high quality data to be used for both point estimates as well as distributional estimates of health care use, expenses, health insurance status and sources of payment for medical care. In addition, MEPS also provides measurement of health status and health care quality associated with several high prevalence conditions.

The contractor shall be responsible for:

  • Maintaining of the MEPS computer assisted and paper instruments for the Household Component and the Medical Provider Component.
  • Collecting data for a complete panel in the base period.
  • Collecting data within an overlapping panel design in the option years.

The contractor shall also be responsible for the development of a set of analytic files (including documentation, survey weights that adjust for complex design), and for the production of a number of methodology reports.

Downloading Information

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Current as of January 2002

The information on this page is archived and provided for reference purposes only.


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