The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday issued a final rule (available here) that will make more data available about the quality and cost of health care offered by providers and suppliers, ultimately allowing consumers to make more informed decisions about their health care.
As CMS reported in its news release:
The final rule explains how organizations can become qualified by CMS to receive standardized extracts of Medicare claims data under Parts A, B, and D for the purpose of measuring provider and supplier performance.
The final rule is required by the Affordable Care Act as part of an initiative to promote transparency in the provision of health care services, giving beneficiaries access to information that will help them make more informed decisions about their health care. CMS has made significant modifications in the final rule to respond to concerns expressed in comments about the cost and timeliness of data, flexibility and innovation in measure calculation, and timeframes for provider’s and supplier’s review and appeal of draft reports.
Business Roundtable issued a statement from our president, John Engler, hailing the decision, "America’s CEOs Laud Move to Boost Health Care Quality, Efficiency," with the sub-headline, "Call Medical Information Transparency Rule a Victory for Consumers, American Families; Applaud Agency for Responding to Longstanding BRT Call for Action."
BRT's Maria Ghazal explained further in an Associated Press article:
"There is pent-up demand for this data because everyone wants to be a more informed, intelligent consumer, especially as health care costs are still rising," said Maria Ghazal, policy director at the Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of major companies providing coverage to some 35 million employees, retirees and family members.
Companies will use the data analyses in their annual updates to their insurance plans. But Ghazal said they also want to put report cards directly in the hands of their employees.
"We want to make it understandable and usable by our employees," said Ghazal. "That has always been the goal."
And although this rule relates to the Affordable Care Act, Business Roundtable has been pushing the health-care information issue for more than five years, going back to the Bush Administration. The New York Times editorialized in favor of the BRT's effort in April, 2006. From "Evaluating Doctors With Medicare Data":
[BRT] asked Medicare to release data on payments to individual physicians to help them determine which doctors achieved the best results — performing the most knee operations with the fewest complications and deaths, for example — and how the average cost per case differs from doctor to doctor.
Releasing the information would help insurance plans and employers decide which doctors to include in their networks. Properly scrubbed and evaluated, the information could also help patients choose their doctors.
The editorial followed a report from the Times' Robert Pear on the BRT's efforts, "Employers Push White House to Disclose Medicare Data."
Additional background on the BRT's advocacy on the issue is available here.
Topics: Health Care Reform.
Business groups step up push for fast-track authority - The Hill's On The Money http://t.co/Z4rhAggr1X
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