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Updates Increase Transparency of the Medicare Program

On May 12, 2016, CMS posted the third annual release of the Physician and Other Supplier Utilization and Payment public use data.  In addition, CMS is announcing the availability of more timely data for researchers.

The Physician and Other Supplier Utilization and Payment data contains summarized information on Part B services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other healthcare professionals.  The data includes payment and submitted charges, or bills, for services and procedures provided by each physician or supplier. It allows for comparisons by physician, specialty, location, types of medical services and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges.

CMS is also making more timely extracts of Medicare claims data available to researchers who access this data via Limited Data Sets (LDS). Historically, researchers have only been able to request annual extracts of Medicare data under the LDS request process. With the changes announced, researchers will be able to request updates to their LDS claims files as frequently as quarterly, making it easier to do the important research that will continue to result in better quality and lower costs in the health care system.

The release of timely, privacy-protected data is especially important as the Medicare increasingly pays providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity, of care they give patients.  These initiatives contribute to a wide set of CMS activities focused on achieving better care, smarter spending, and healthier people throughout the health care system.