CMS to turn hospital performance data public

In a move to enhance transparency in the healthcare system, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will make hospital and doctor performance data available to the public. Under new rules published today in the Federal Register, certain organizations can access patient-protected Medicare data to create public reports on the quality of physicians, hospitals, surgical centers, and other healthcare providers.

These reports will utilize Medicare claims data from Parts A, B, and D, and private sector claims data to provide a more complete and accurate picture of how providers and suppliers are performing. By doing so, CMS says it hopes such reports will help consumers and employers choose high-quality, low-cost care.

"And making our healthcare system more transparent promotes competition and drives costs down," adds CMS Administrator Dr. Donald M. Berwick in a statement.

To keep patient information safe, the public reports will contain aggregated information only and will not disclose individual patient data.

The qualified organizations must pay a fee to cover CMS' cost of making the data available, as well as use claims data from multiple sources in order to receive the Medicare claims data.

Hospitals and doctors may find relief knowing that the qualified organizations must share the reports with them prior to their public release so they can make any corrections, if needed.  

The proposed rules will accept public comment for 60 days.

For more information:
- read the CMS announcement
- here are the proposed rules (.pdf)