Continuing its transparency initiative to make more Medicare data available to consumers, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on June 2 issued its first annual update to Medicare hospital charge data.

The data availability, announced at the Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, enables comparing of the average amount that hospitals bill for inpatient or outpatient services, starting with charge data from 2012. The data includes charges for the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays at more than 3,000 hospitals across the nation.

CMS last year released 2011 hospital charge data, making it now possible to compare pricing for treatment over a two-year span. Treatment for back problems, for instance, increased by $2,000 between 2011 and 2012. CMS also is making available “geographic variation” dashboards to remove the effects of geographic payment adjustments that Medicare makes to many payment rates.

Earlier this year, CMS released data on chronic conditions among Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries. It also made a controversial release of data in April on Medicare payment information covering more than 800,000 physicians.

For more information on the datasets now available, click here.

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