On November 12, 2013, CMS announced the launch of its Virtual Research Data Center (VRDC), which is intended to provide researchers with more convenient, timely, and cost-effective access to secure CMS health care data without needing to request that the agency ship encrypted data files. According to CMS, traditional physical delivery of a large sample of Medicare Parts A, B, and D data can cost more than $100,000 for a single year of data, while a researcher’s use of the VRDC for a single project over the course of the year would cost approximately $40,000. CMS notes that individually-identifiable beneficiary information remains in the CMS data environment under the VRDC model, which helps safeguard against breaches or unauthorized uses of the data.