Datapalooza: HHS Unveils Medicare Outpatient Costs

Scott Mace, June 4, 2013

Healthcare cost data released by the federal government Monday includes estimates for average hospital charges for 30 types of outpatient procedures.

The Obama administration made government transparency a campaign promise and on healthcare data it is delivering in a big way.

On Monday, Medicare data including estimates for average charges for 30 types of hospital outpatient procedures was released. This follows the release last month of pricing information data for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient DRGs or diagnostic related groups.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Monday announced the availability of inpatient costs at the beginning of Health Datapalooza IV, the fourth annual national conference on health data transparency. The conference is "born from government efforts to liberate health data" and brings together government agencies, private companies and academics to improve healthcare.

The data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services includes county-level data on Medicare spending and utilization for the first time, as well as selected data on hospital outpatient charges. In addition, the HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology released additional information on the adoption of specific electronic health record systems.

"A more data-driven and transparent health care marketplace can help consumers and their families make important decisions about their care," Sebelius says. "The administration is committed to making the health system more transparent and harnessing data to empower consumers."

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the senior technology editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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