On April 20, 2023, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made ownership data of all Medicare-certified hospices and home health agencies publicly available for the first time. This move is consistent with the Biden administration’s intention to provide greater transparency and accountability in the healthcare industry.
The Biden administration has repeatedly voiced concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the healthcare industry and has taken steps to remedy these issues through prior data releases of ownership information. In April 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released data on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and changes of ownership from 2016–2022 for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare; in September 2022, CMS released ownership data on 15,000 skilled nursing facilities; and in December 2022, CMS released ownership information of more than 7,000 hospitals.
According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, this latest action by HHS is intended to “promote competition and protect consumers” and includes detailed information for more than 6,000 hospices and 11,000 home health agencies, including the following:
- Medicare enrollment data such as organization name, type, practice addresses, National Provider Identifier (NPI) number and CMS Certification Number (CCN)
- Information about individual versus organizational owners and whether the ownership interest is direct or indirect
- Numerical associate ID for each owner to enable linkage to the enrollment file
- Data since 2016 regarding mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and changes of ownership experienced by Medicare-enrolled hospices and home health agencies
CMS believes that making this data publicly available will assist CMS and other regulators in
- Holding accountable those hospices and home health agencies that have a pattern of poor performance,
- Providing insight on how market conditions impact consumer costs and quality of care
- Informing policy decisions on competition in healthcare
- Giving consumers more confidence in the decision-making process when choosing which hospices and home health agencies to utilize
It is expected that CMS will release updates to this data on a quarterly basis. Hospices and home health agencies should monitor these updates for accuracy and correct any errors in their enrollment records through PECOS or CMS 855A submissions.