The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) enhanced the Physician Directory tool with new information about physicians and other healthcare workers in their communities and the services those professionals provide.
The new feature, called Physician Compare, expands and updates CMS’ Healthcare Provider Directory, which has helped millions of beneficiaries find Medicare-participating doctors online for over a decade. The new tool expands the doctor-specific information into the suite of informational tools for Medicare beneficiaries and other consumers.
The new site which was required by the Affordable Care Act of 2010, contains information about physicians enrolled in the Medicare program, which include Doctors of Medicine, Osteopathy, Optometry, Podiatric Medicine, and Chiropractic. The site also contains information about other types of health professionals who routinely care for Medicare beneficiaries, including nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, registered dietitians, physical therapists, physician assistants, and occupational therapists.
In addition to information about the physician’s practice, Physician Compare also shows consumers whether the practice reported certain data to CMS through the Physician Quality Reporting System, formerly known as the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). Currently, the PQRI reporting system is a voluntary reporting program that rewards physicians and other eligible healthcare professionals for reporting data on quality measures related to services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries. These quality measures are based on the best available medical evidence and designed to help professionals improve care for patients. In 2009, over 200,000 professionals reported data to CMS through the Physician Quality Reporting System.