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CMS: Data Release Targets Consumer Transparency

Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, recently announced the release of new, privacy-protected data regarding services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other healthcare professionals in 2012; included in the dataset were service locations such as military treatment facilities, comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation, and skilled nursing facilities. The data, the release notes, will also display payment and submitted charges, or bills, for the services and procedures by provider.

According to the release, the new data set contains information for more than 880,000 distinct healthcare providers who it says collectively received $77 billion in Medicare payments in 2012, under the Medicare B Fee-For-Service program. With this data, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare 6,000 different types of services and procedures provided, as well as payments received by individual healthcare providers.

The release notes that the information also allows for comparison by physician, specialty, location, and types of medical services and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges.

Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator, calls data transparency a “key aspect of transformation of the healthcare delivery system” and adds that the data release “will help beneficiaries and consumers better understand how care is delivered through the Medicare program.”

Review the physician dataset here

[Source: CMS]