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HHS Releases More Charge Data

June 2, 2014
by Gabriel Perna
| Reprints

For the second straight year, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a trove of hospital charge data at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington D.C.

One year after releasing data at the fourth annual Health Datapalooza, outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of additional Medicare hospital charge data by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) at the fifth rendition of the event. The data represents the first annual update of the hospital inpatient and outpatient data since last year.

It includes information comparing the average amount a hospital bills for services that may be provided in connection with a similar inpatient stay or outpatient visit for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays at over 3,000 hospitals in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. CMS says that with two years of data available, researchers can begin to look at trends in hospital charges.

“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,” Bryan Sivak, HHS chief technology officer, said in a statement. “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."

The announcement ensures that the healthcare pricing transparency movement, which began in full force last year, continues in 2014. CMS also announced the release of a suite of other data products and tools aimed at increasing transparency. This includes multiple interactive dashboards, including one that uses the spending data to calculate how much Medicare beneficiaries spend on specific chronic conditions. Another will aim to help researchers and other stakeholders estimate the number of Medicare beneficiaries with certain demographic profiles or health conditions

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