Continuing a transparency program of releasing Medicare data to support increased quality of care and inform consumer health spending, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has opened its Durable Medical Equipment data set.

The data is being offered to researchers, providers and other stakeholders, particularly consumers.

The newest data dump is titled, “Provider Utilization and Payment Data: Referring Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics and Supplies,” or DMEPOS. It includes information on utilization, payments including the allowed amount and Medicare payment, and submitted charges organized by a National Provider Identifier for each Medicare provider, as well as the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System and the supplier rental indicator (service status).

Also See: CMS Releases 2013 Hospital, Physician Data

The data covers Part B non-institutional DMEPOS line items for the Medicare fee-for-service population, according to CMS. Data is available in a tab delimited file format requiring importing into a database or statistical software, and also available in an interactive format on CMS.gov that enables filtering, sorting and exporting data. Further, two summary files aggregate information by referring provider and by nation/state and HCPCS code.

However, CMS explains a number of limitations to the data set. “Of particular importance is the fact that the data may not be representative of a physician’s entire practice as it only includes information on Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. In addition, the data are not intended to indicate the quality of care provided and are not risk-adjusted to account for differences in underlying severity of disease of patient populations.” Click here to access the data set.

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