Lawmakers Call for Access to Medicare Claims Data
A Senate bill would make Medicare claims and payment data available to the public in a searchable database that would be free to use.
On the heels of a Senate Finance Committee hearing that explored a wide range of healthcare pricing and transparency issues, three committee members introduced on Tuesday a bill to make Medicare claims data available to the public.
The Medicare Data Access for Transparency and Accountability Act (Medicare DATA Act) would require the Department of Health and Human Services to issue regulations making Medicare claims and payment data available to the public in a searchable database that would be free to use.
The bill requires that each provider be identified by a "unique identifier that is available to the public...such as the National Provider Identifier." It also clarifies that Medicare payments to physicians and suppliers do not fall under a Freedom of Information exemption.
In introducing the bill in the Senate, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) noted that with only a few exceptions almost all federal spending is available on the Internet through www.openspending.com. "That means virtually every other government program... is more transparent than the Medicare program."
He also sees the effort as countering waste and fraud in the $549 billion Medicare program. "If doctors know that each claim they make will be publicly available, it might deter some wasteful practices and overbilling."
- CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol
- CNO on Hospital Redesign: 'You Can't Over-Communicate'
- How Digital Strategy Shapes Patient Engagement at Boston Children's Hospital
- Consumerism Drives Healthcare Branding, Rebranding Efforts
- PA Ranks See 'Phenomenal Growth,' Lack of Diversity
- Half of All Primary Care, Internal Medicine Jobs Unfilled in 2013
- 3 Traits Personality Assessments Can't Reveal
- Carondelet to Pay $35M to Settle Fraud Allegations
- Antibiotic Overuse a 'Huge Threat' to Patient Safety, Says CDC
- Cleveland Clinic Partners with North Shore-LIJ for Heart Care