CMS released on June 3, 2013, county-level data on Medicare spending and utilization, which, according to a corresponding press release, marks the first time the agency has made this information public. The same day, CMS also released certain data on hospital outpatient charges. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the data releases at Health Datapalooza IV—an annual conference on health information—noting that the releases are part of a broader effort to improve patient care by increasing healthcare data transparency. As we previously reported in Health Headlines, on May 8, 2013, the Secretary announced CMS’s release of data on hospital charges for 100 common inpatient procedures. The prior Health Headlines article is available here.

Among other things, the Medicare county-level data—covering years 2007 through 2011—include average beneficiary risk scores, and service-level costs and utilization figures. The selected outpatient charge data, which are provided for CY 2011, include estimated hospital-specific charges for thirty common outpatient procedures.

According to the CMS press release, HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology also published new data on electronic health records (EHR), including information on the various EHR products used by over 140,000 physicians.

To access the recently released data and read the CMS press release, click here.