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CMS publishes hospital discharge, Medicare payment data

The costs of the top 100 most frequently billed discharges were part of recently released Medicare payment data documenting the year 2013.

CMS has released another round of hospital utilization and Medicare payment data, offering the public and all participants in the industry a look into the healthcare insurance program. The data includes specific information about the cost of services provided to Medicare beneficiaries by healthcare professionals nationwide. It also contains a list of the most frequent procedures and treatments carried out by American physicians and hospitals under Medicare. The Medicare payment data was posted in a press release on CMS' website and announced during the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington D.C.

"Data transparency facilitates a vibrant health data ecosystem, promotes innovation, and leads to better informed and more engaged health care consumers," Niall Brennan, CMS chief data officer and director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics, said in CMS' release. "CMS will continue to release the hospital and physician data on an annual basis so we can enable smarter decision making about care that is delivered in the health care system."

Analysts looking to crunch the data have plenty of it to sift through. The data includes the top 100 most frequently billed discharges -- categorized by the Medicare diagnostic related group -- at more than 3,000 hospitals in 2013. Each of the top 10 most commonly billed discharges recorded more than 140,000 discharges in 2013. Nine of the top ten exceeded $1 billion in allowed amount.

The new dataset contains information on billed procedures for more than 950,000 providers across all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Collectively, those providers received $90 billion in Medicare payments. The source of the information was inpatient data from the Medicare Providers Analysis and Review dataset, which stores claims for services provided to beneficiaries by Medicare certified hospitals and nursing facilities.

By comparing the most current hospital discharge and Medicare payment data to past datasets from 2011 and 2012, providers and data analysts can observe procedural trends, such as the reimbursements paid for certain procedures. Hospitals and other healthcare organizations can also gauge how their prices compare to the national average.

CMS will continue to release the hospital and physician data on an annual basis so we can enable smarter decision making about care that is delivered.
Niall Brennanchief data officer, CMS

"These data releases will give patients, researchers and providers continued access to information to transform the health care delivery system," said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt in the CMS release.

Disclosing the top 100 most common hospital discharges should be enough data to help medical professionals and interested outsiders get an idea of the scope and direction of the Medicare program and the American healthcare industry.

About the author:
Reda Chouffani is vice president of development at Biz Technology Solutions Inc., which provides software design, development and deployment services for the healthcare industry. Let us know what you think about the story; email
 editor@searchhealthit.com or contact @SearchHealthIT on Twitter.

Next Steps

CMS launches health insurance resource for patients

Medicare payment data available under Freedom of Information Act

Medicare Shared Savings program undergoes changes

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