Conference Coverage

CMS will release Medicare Advantage claims data to researchers


 

REPORTING FROM HEALTH DATAPALOOZA 2018

Medicare Advantage claims data will soon be available for health researchers, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma announced.

CMS Administrator Seema Verma Gregory Twachtman/MDedge News

CMS Administrator Seema Verma

“We recognize that the Medicare Advantage data are not perfect, but we have determined that the quality of the available data is adequate enough to support research,” Ms. Verma told attendees April 26 at an annual conference on health data and innovation.

CMS is starting with the Medicare managed care plans’ encounter data from 2015, and Ms. Verma said the data will be updated annually.

In addition, she announced that in 2019 CMS will make Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program data available. That will give researchers access to data from another 70 million patients.

Ms. Verma noted that the Medicaid population includes a range of people, including people with disabilities, pregnant women, children, and low-income adults. Those low-income adults “often experience multiple health issues and face challenges managing their care,” Ms. Verma noted. “Our hope is that these data will be used for critical research on this vulnerable population.”


CMS also will look to the health information technology developer community to create open application program interface tools “to modernize how we share data with our partners,” she said. That push is part of the overall MyHealthEData initiative to improve patient access to their health data and become more informed about their own health care.

“Who knows what knowledge, treatments, and cures are hidden in the reams of CMS data?” Ms. Verma said. “Help us use it securely. After all, this is knowledge that could change the life of a patient or the trajectory of a health care system.”

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