Health Information Management

News: GAO tells CMS to improve transparency tools

CDI Strategies, December 4, 2014

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that while CMS’ transparency tools such as its Hospital and Physician Compare websites “provide some clinical quality information relevant to consumers, they often lack condition-specific information for the type of non-urgent procedures that consumers can most readily plan for in advance,” according to a November 18 report from the agency.

It also found wide differences in costs for similar procedures in the same geographic area, for example maternity care in Boston revealed ranges of $7,000 to $21,000.

GAO made several recommendations for the five CMS Compare websites, including posting estimated out-of-pocket costs for common treatments, organizing providers by quality ratings, and giving beneficiaries the option to customize the sites for their own needs.

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