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Obama administration makes doctors' Medicare services and charges accessible to consumers

In an ongoing effort to make the healthcare system more transparent, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday released new, privacy-protected data on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other healthcare professionals. The new data show payment and submitted charges, or bills, for those services and procedures by provider.  Imgres

The release of the data will give researchers, policymakers and consumers a new window into healthcare spending and physician practice patterns, Sebelius said. 

The data set has information for over 880,000 distinct providers who collectively received $77 billion in Medicare payments in 2012, under the Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service program. With this data, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare 6,000 different types of services and procedures provided, as well as payments received by individual healthcare providers.

The information also allows comparisons by physician, specialty, location, the types of medical service and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges. Physicians and other healthcare professionals determine what they will charge for services and procedures provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the physician or health care professional generally bills for the service or procedure.

The release follows a previous move by CMS last May releasing data that allowed  consumers to compare what hospitals charge for common inpatient and outpatient services across the country.

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