HHS Releases Medicare Data on Spending and Chronic Conditions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a new, easy-to-use interactive tool that gives anybody - researchers, physicians, public health professionals, policymakers, consumer advocates, tech innovators, and the public – the ability to find and examine data on multiple chronic conditions among Medicare beneficiaries. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Chronic Conditions Dashboard furthers the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) goals for health promotion and the prevention and management of multiple chronic conditions and is an integral part of the Administration’s Health Data Initiative that seeks to release more health-related data in more usable formats to the public in order to promote innovation and improvement in health and care.

The Dashboard includes data for 2011 and presents summarized information on the prevalence of chronic conditions, as well as aggregate Medicare costs and utilization measures for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions at various geographic levels – national, state, and hospital referral region. Examples of what you can find in the Dashboard include:

  • Summary statistics for Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries residing in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who were continuously enrolled in Medicare FFS, parts A and B, for 2011.
  • Geographic comparisons (national, state, and hospital referral region) and population comparisons (sex, age, dually eligible for Medicaid) for the following metrics:
    • the prevalence of 15 chronic conditions;
    • the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions;
    • the per capita Medicare spending by the number of chronic conditions;
    • the 30-day hospital readmission rate by the number of chronic conditions;
    • the number of emergency department (ER) visits per 1,000 beneficiaries by number of chronic conditions.

In addition, you can directly download the population-level data underlying these calculations in machine-readable formats to produce your own analysis (all while protecting beneficiary privacy; no patient-level data is being released).

Currently, little is known about differences in health care use and spending across states (or other geographic areas) for populations with multiple chronic conditions. The Dashboard’s data analytics compare information in beneficiary populations and in different geographic settings, which can help to identify areas for improving health outcomes, lowering costs, and maximizing patients’ quality of life.

Read the Chronic Conditions Dashboard Press Release.

Todd Park is Assistant to the President and US Chief Technology Officer