Biden-Harris Administration Continues Unprecedented Efforts to Increase Ownership Transparency in Health Care Settings
The Biden-Harris Administration has made promoting competition and protecting consumers a top priority. Today, in support of President Joe Biden’s Executive Order on promoting competition and the Administration’s commitment to transparency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is releasing ownership data for all Medicare-certified hospitals. Now, for the first time ever, anyone will be able to review detailed information on the ownership of more than 7,000 hospitals certified to participate in the Medicare program on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) website.
“At President Biden’s direction, this Administration puts consumers first – and we believe consumers deserve transparency,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “At HHS, we continue taking unprecedented action to deliver on President Biden’s vision. We are pulling back the curtain and letting the sunshine in on hospital and nursing home ownership because it is what the public deserves. As we work to expand access to high-quality, affordable health care, we will make sure there is transparency to ensure that facilities are held accountable and people can make the best-informed decisions on their care.”
Today’s announcement builds on the Department’s historic releases of data and unprecedented efforts to increase transparency. In April, CMS released data publicly – for the first time ever – on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations, and changes of ownership from 2016-2022 for hospitals and nursing homes enrolled in Medicare. In September, CMS released additional data publicly on the ownership of approximately 15,000 nursing homes certified as a Medicare Skilled Nursing Facility, regardless of any change in ownership, including providing more information about organizational owners of nursing homes.
The new information posted today also includes detailed information on the ownership of more than 7,000 Hospitals certified to participate in the Medicare program regardless of any change in ownership. The data elements include:
- enrollment information such as organization name, type, practice location addresses (e.g., off campus), National Provider Identifier (NPI), CMS Certification Number (CCN);
- detailed information about each owner such as whether it is an organization or an individual and whether it is a direct owner or indirect owner (that is, there is at least one subsidiary between it and the provider); and
- a numerical associate ID for each owner to enable linkage to the enrollment file.
Making facility ownership information transparent benefits researchers and enforcement agencies by allowing them to identify common owners that have had histories of poor performance, to analyze data and trends on how market consolidation impacts consumers with increased costs, without necessarily improving quality of care, and to evaluate the relationships between ownership and changes in health care costs and outcomes. Transparent ownership data benefits the public by assisting patients, and their loved ones, in making more informed decisions about care. HHS plans to analyze these data to identify ways to inform policy approaches that can improve competition in health care, a key priority for the Biden-Harris administration.
HHS’s Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) has published a series of reports demonstrating the usefulness of these data sources to examine policy issues including nursing home market concentration, types of facility owners, hospital profit margins and mergers, and the relationship between nursing home acquisitions and quality.
Review the data posted today on data.cms.gov.
CMS expects to release updated hospital ownership data on a monthly basis in a searchable format on data.cms.gov, in addition to a flat Excel file available for download to make it easier for researchers to use.