CMS Care Compare Gives Patients a New Tool for Making Health Care Decisions
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS health care compare tools available on Medicare.gov. Care Compare allows patients and caregivers to make decisions about health care based on cost, quality of care, volume of services, and other data. The site provides a one-stop shop with information about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care services instead of searching through multiple tools.
Care Compare offers a user-friendly interface and a simple design that is optimized for mobile and tablet use. Enhancements for mobile use include allowing patients to use a smartphone to call a provider by clicking on the provider’s phone number.
“By aggregating all eight of CMS’ quality tools into a single interface, patients can easily research different providers and facilities before they entrust themselves to their care,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “[Thursday’s] launch of Care Compare is the next step in fulfilling our eMedicare promise.”
Previously, for example, someone planning to have bypass surgery would need to visit Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare and Home Health Compare to research providers for different phases of their procedure and rehabilitation. Care Compare gives patients a firm starting point to meet their health care needs, providing information about quality measures across all provider types and care settings.
Improvements have also been made to other CMS data tools to help Medicare beneficiaries compare costs. The Procedure Price Look Up (PPL) tool now includes physician fees in addition to facility fees, offering people with Medicare a more accurate prediction of the true out-of-pocket costs. The Provider Data Catalog (PDC) better serves innovators and stakeholders who are interested in detailed CMS data and use interactive and downloadable datasets like those currently available on data.Medicare.gov.
Other new tools launched under the eMedicare initiative include:
- A completely redesigned Medicare Plan Finder Tool for last Open Enrollment;
- “What’s Covered” app that tells people what’s covered and what’s not in Original Medicare;
- A price transparency tool that lets consumers compare Medicare payments and copayments for certain procedures performed in both hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers;
- Interactive online decision support to help people better understand and evaluate their Medicare coverage options and costs between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage;
- An online service that lets people quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs
- Webchat option in Medicare Plan Finder helps people get on-the-spot support; and
- Easy-to-use surveys across Medicare.gov so patients and consumers can continue to offer feedback about their online experiences.