CMS creates new office for data resources
Data Dude - 86.48 Kb
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a data initiative that creates the new Office of Information Products and Data Analysis (OIPDA). The office is designed to maximize CMS data for internal and external users. 

OIPDA "will serve as the single point of accountability and coordination across the agency to ensure consistent implementation of policies related to data release and dissemination," according to information published on the CMS website. "The Office will also develop and continually update the suite of CMS data and information products and serve as the agency point of contact for external data requests."

Under OIPDA, the development, management, use and dissemination of data and information resources will become one of CMS’ core functions. The agency said that ensuring the privacy and security of personal health information remains a top priority as OIPDA improves access to, and use of, CMS data and information resources. 

The website also said that this effort enhances data analytics and management strategies that are being widely promoted through programs by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The new office will be busy if the list of its scope published on the CMS website is any indication. OIPDA will assume responsibility for many current CMS data functions, including:
  • Management of the Chronic Condition Warehouse (CCW), designed to support multiple analytic functions and includes patient-centric data files linked by a unique beneficiary identifier across the continuum of care from 1999 to present day. The CCW also contains Medicaid data, assessment data and provider enrollment data.
  • Administration and production of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, a continuous survey of Medicare beneficiaries that provides estimates and information on the Medicare population, such as expenditures and sources of payment for services used by beneficiaries, changes in health status, satisfaction with care and usual sources of care.
  • Management of the Medicaid Analytic Extract, which is designed to summarize Medicaid data from the Medicaid Statistical Information System.  
  • Oversight of the Research Data Assistance Center, which provides training and technical assistance for external users requesting CMS data.
  • Oversight of the Medicare Data Sharing for Performance Measurement Program (PPACA Section 10332), which provides extracts of all Medicare claims data to qualified entities who then combine the Medicare data with claims data from other payers to create actionable quality assessments for healthcare providers.
  • Aggregated Medicare demographic, spending, utilization and quality information at the Hospital Referral Region level published on and the Institute of Medicine.  
  • Oversight of the Medicare “Blue Button” initiative that permits beneficiaries to download their Medicare claims history.
  • Management of the CMS Data Navigator which is a web-based search tool connects researchers, policymakers and the general public to CMS and external data resources. The Navigator is designed to improve the transparency of CMS data, allowing users to locate CMS data currently located in multiple locations on the CMS website. The Data Navigator is scheduled to be in operation by mid-summer 2012 and will be located on the CMS website.

OIPDA will coordinate the agency’s data policies and requirements to ensure their efficient and strategic alignment, according to CMS. Other CMS components will continue to collect, store and analyze data for their specific business needs, but OIPDA will be responsible for "ensuring that the CMS enterprise maximizes its data resources, transforming the agency into a data-driven organization."