In 2014, Medicare paid more than $78 billion to surgeons, ambulance services, podiatrists, hospice services, eye doctors, family physicians, speech, physical and occupational therapists, and dozens more.
AHCJ has updated Medicare payment data for its members in an easy-to-use format – spreadsheet files listing specific providers and broken down by state. Journalists can download and analyze these files – covering 2012, 2013 and now 2014 – to find stories for their audiences.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just released the detailed payment data covering 2014. That information was kept secret for 35 years until 2014, when CMS released detailed payment data covering 2012. The agency followed up a year later with 2013 data and this month with 2014 data. Now, health reporters can examine how those public funds have been spent over three years.
AHCJ members can follow this link to download Microsoft Excel files by state for all three years. The page includes links to the actual files, plus links to documentation, a rundown of caveats and tips, and descriptions of the each spreadsheet column. While the original data can be cumbersome for common desktop software, AHCJ took the extra step of breaking down the data by state and by year, posting the files for download.
The data covers payment information for individual doctors and other providers for Medicare Part B services delivered – for 2014, a total of 9,316,307 records in the original data file, totaling 1.94 GB. The file covers 938,146 physicians and other providers – 91 different types – who received payments from Medicare.
The new data provide more detailed information of how physicians practice in the Medicare program, and the payments they receive. The data contain information on health care professionals in all 50 states – plus the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and a handful in other countries. Because of privacy concerns, the government files exclude providers who seek reimbursement for services done for 10 or fewer patients.
With these files, it will be possible to conduct a wide range of analyses that compare thousands of different services and procedures provided, as well as payments received by individual health care providers.