Medicare Releases First Update of
Hospital Charge Data; FDA Makes Health Datasets Available
Data can help improve care
coordination and health outcomes for Medicare patients; the Food and
Drug Administration will also introduce a new open data initiative at
June 3, 2014 – The first annual
update to the Medicare hospital charge data - information comparing the
average amount a hospital bills for services that may be provided in
connection with a similar inpatient stay or outpatient visit – is being
released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. CMS is
also releasing a suite of other data products and tools aimed to
increase transparency about Medicare payments.
It is part of a broader release of
new data and information on new initiatives being introduced by the
Department of Health and Human Services at the annual Health Datapalooza
conference in Washington, D.C. More than 2,000 entrepreneurs, investors,
data scientists, researchers, policy experts, government employees and
others are in attendance.
The data trove on CMS’s website now
includes inpatient and outpatient hospital charge data for 2012, and new
interactive dashboards for the CMS Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse and
geographic variation data.
Also at the meeting today, the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) will launch a new open data initiative.
The FDA’s new initiative, openFDA, is designed to facilitate easier
access to large, important public health datasets collected by the
And before the end of the
conference, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health
Information Technology (ONC) will announce the winners of two data
“The release of these data sets
furthers the administration’s efforts to increase transparency and
support data-driven decision making which is essential for health care
transformation,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“These public data resources
provide a better understanding of Medicare utilization, the burden of
chronic conditions among beneficiaries and the implications for our
health care system and how this varies by where beneficiaries are
located,” said Bryan Sivak, HHS chief technology officer.
“This information can be used to
improve care coordination and health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries
nationwide, and we are looking forward to seeing what the community will
do with these releases. Additionally, the openFDA initiative being
launched today will for the first time enable a new generation of
consumer facing and research applications to embed relevant and timely
data in machine-readable, API-based formats."
2012 Inpatient and Outpatient
Hospital Charge Data
The data posted today on the
provide the first annual update of the hospital inpatient and outpatient
data released by the agency last spring. The data include information
comparing the average charges for services that may be provided in
connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays at over
3,000 hospitals in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Hospitals
determine what they will charge for items and services provided to
patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital generally bills
for those items or services.
With two years of data now
available, researchers can begin to look at trends in hospital charges.
For example, average charges for medical back problems increased nine
percent from $23,000 to $25,000, but the total number of discharges
decreased by nearly 7,000 from 2011 to 2012.
In April, ONC launched a challenge
– the Code-a-Palooza challenge – calling on developers to create tools
that will help patients use the Medicare data to make health care
choices. Fifty-six innovators submitted proposals and 10 finalists are
presenting their applications during Datapalooza. The winning products
will be announced before the end of the conference.
Chronic Conditions Warehouse and
new and updated information on chronic conditions among Medicare
fee-for-service beneficiaries, including:
Geographic data summarized to
national, state, county, and hospital referral regions levels for the
Data for examining disparities
among specific Medicare populations, such as beneficiaries with
disabilities, dual-eligible beneficiaries, and race/ethnic groups;
Data on prevalence, utilization of
select Medicare services, and Medicare spending;
Interactive dashboards that provide
customizable information about Medicare beneficiaries with chronic
conditions at state, county, and hospital referral regions levels for
Chartbooks and maps.
These public data resources support
the HHS Initiative on Multiple Chronic Conditions by providing
researchers and policymakers a better understanding of the burden of
chronic conditions among beneficiaries and the implications for our
health care system.
Geographic Variation Dashboard
Dashboards present Medicare fee-for-service per-capita
spending at the state and county levels in interactive formats. CMS
calculated the spending figures in these dashboards using standardized
dollars that remove the effects of the geographic adjustments that
Medicare makes for many of its payment rates. The dashboards include
total standardized per capita spending, as well as standardized per
capita spending by type of service. Users can select the indicator and
year they want to display. Users can also compare data for a given state
or county to the national average. All of the information presented in
the dashboards is also available for download from the Geographic
Variation Public Use File.
Research Cohort Estimate Tool
CMS also released a
that will help researchers and other stakeholders estimate the number of
Medicare beneficiaries with certain demographic profiles or health
conditions. This tool can assist a variety of stakeholders interested in
specific figures on Medicare enrollment. Researchers can also use this
tool to estimate the size of their proposed research cohort and the cost
of requesting CMS data to support their study.
Digital Privacy Notice Challenge
ONC, with the HHS Office of Civil
Rights, will be awarding the winner of the Digital Privacy Notice
Challenge during the conference. The winning products will help
consumers get notices of privacy practices from their health care
providers or health plans directly in their personal health records or
from their providers’ patient portals.
OpenFDA will make FDA’s publicly
available data accessible in a structured, computer readable format that
will make it possible for technology specialists, such as mobile
application creators, web developers, data visualization artists and
researchers to quickly search, query, or pull massive amounts of
information on an as needed basis. The initiative is the result of
extensive research to identify FDA’s publicly available datasets that
are often in demand, but traditionally difficult to use. Based on this
research, openFDA is beginning with a pilot program involving millions
of reports of drug adverse events and medication errors submitted to the
FDA from 2004 to 2013. The pilot will later be expanded to include the
FDA’s databases on product recalls and product labeling.
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