Now available: Updated data on what Medicare paid to health care providers

Jeff Porter

About Jeff Porter

Jeff Porter is the special projects director 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.

AHCJ just processed almost 10 million records of Medicare payments to providers for 2016, turning it into easy-to-use spreadsheets broken down by state.

In 2016, Medicare paid more than $82 billion in payments to 91 types of providers, including physicians, therapists, ambulance services, surgical centers and more.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just released the detailed payment data covering 2016. The agency began releasing 2012 data in 2014. Now, health reporters can examine how those public funds have been spent over a five-year period – from 2012 through 2016.

AHCJ members can follow this link to download Microsoft Excel files by state for all five 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, and posting those files for download.

The data cover payment information for individual doctors and other providers for Medicare Part B services delivered – for 2016 that covers more than 1 million physicians and other providers who receive Medicare payments.

The new data provide more detailed information of how providers 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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