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AHCJ releases Medicare provider payment data broken down by state Date: 06/04/15

Medicare pays doctors and other providers virtually everywhere in the United States, amounting to more than $70 billion in 2013 alone. The money goes for medical exams, X-rays, injections and a host of other treatments and procedures.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just released detailed payment data covering 2013. Until 2014, that information was kept secret for 35 years. That year, CMS released detailed payment data covering 2012. Now, health reporters can examine how those public funds have been spent over two years.

As it did last year, AHCJ has made the updated data more accessible for its members. Members can follow this link to download Microsoft Excel files by state for both years - 2012 and 2013. 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.

The data covers payment information for individual doctors and other providers for Medicare Part B services delivered in 2013 – a total of 9,287,876 records in the original data file, totaling 2.05 GB. The file covers more than 950,000 physicians and other providers who received payments from Medicare.

The comprehensive file is too large for common desktop database software, so AHCJ took the extra step of breaking down the data by state and by year and posting the files for download, along with some tips and caveats for reporters. 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.