On June 1, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the third annual release of Medicare hospital utilization and payment data and the second annual release of physician and supplier utilization and payment data. (The prior year's data releases were discussed here.) The 2013 hospital utilization and payment data covers more than 3,000 U.S. hospitals that received approximately $52 million in Medicare payments for certain inpatient and outpatient services. The 2013 physician and supplier utilization and payment data includes information related to more than 950,000 healthcare providers that received approximately $90 billion in Medicare payments.

The data releases are intended to provide researchers, providers and the public with greater access to information related to the delivery of healthcare and to Medicare spending. According to the CMS announcement, the data releases are part of an initiative to increase the quality of healthcare and to inform spending by patients and consumers.