Medicare payment data now available for individual states

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the director of education for AHCJ and plays a lead role in planning conferences, workshops and other training events. He also leads the organization's data collection and data instruction efforts.

When the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released payment data last month, health reporters paid attention. It allowed an unprecedented look at how $77 billion of public funds have been spent.

Now, AHCJ has made the data more accessible for its members. Members can follow this link to download Microsoft Excel files by state. 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 2012 – a total of 9,153,272 records in the original data file, totaling 1.7 GB. The file covers more than 880,000 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 posting the files for download, along with some tips and caveats for reporters.

The new data provide a more detailed picture 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.

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