The Health and Human Services Department is taking another step to increase transparency in healthcare, this time by making it easier to determine the ownership of Medicare-certified hospice and home health agencies.
The department, through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, unveiled a public database Thursday containing ownership information on more than 6,000 hospices and 11,000 home health agencies that receive Medicare reimbursement. The announcement builds on the Biden administration’s efforts to promote competition and protect consumers.
“It’s plain and simple: families deserve transparency when making decisions about hospice and home healthcare for their loved ones,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. “President Biden has called for unprecedented action to increase transparency – and we are making more data publicly available than ever before.”
The data provides details about whether the owners are direct or indirect owners and information about mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and changes in ownership since 2016. It also lists the organization’s name, type of facility, addresses, national provider identifier and CMS certification number. CMS said it plans to update the data quarterly.
HHS has spent the past year making ownership data of various healthcare facilities publicly available. In December, the agency released details about the ownership of more than 7,000 Medicare-certified hospitals. In September, the department made available ownership data of the 15,000 skilled nursing facilities that Medicare reimburses. In April 2022, it revealed data on mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and changes of ownership for Medicare-enrolled hospitals and nursing homes from 2016 to 2022.