CMS posts data on ASC payments

Consumers now have on-line access to information on facility costs and Medicare payments for 61 procedures performed in ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs).

The information is labeled "Commonly Performed Procedures in ASCs" and contains charge and Medicare payment data for ASC facility costs. The data are broken down at the county, state, and national level. CMS also is releasing data on "Other Commonly Performed Procedures in ASCs," which contains similar charge and payment data, but for facility costs related to high-utilization services. Information on what Medicare pays for 41 inpatient procedures was posted in June. The CMS postings can be viewed at www.cms.hhs.gov/HealthCareConInit.

"This new data builds on the president's commitment to making more quality and price data available," said Mike Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in a prepared statement. "By posting data about federal health care programs like Medicare, we are putting in motion efforts that will give Americans the information they need to make informed health care decisions."

On Aug. 22, President Bush signed an executive order to promote efforts led at the federal level to implement more transparent and high-quality health care. Patients, providers, and others will be able to access information from several potential sources, including insurance companies, employers, and Medicare-sponsored web sites. (Editor's note: For more information on the executive order, go to www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/08/20060822-2.html.)