Proposed legislation would grant release of CMS data

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A new bill in the Senate proposes giving some private sector groups access to data collected and maintained by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Introduced by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH), the measure would allow qualified private-sector organizations, known as Medicare Quality Reporting Organizations, to use CMS claims, survey and assessment data to promote the development of reports on healthcare quality and costs. Dubbed the Medicare Quality Enhancement Act, the measure is specifically designed to improve the quality of healthcare while lowering costs, according to a release from Gregg's office.

Still, legal debate remains over whether it is appropriate to release such data. Gregg contends that the Medicare Quality Enhancement Act would ensure that qualified organizations use the data to measure quality and control costs while protecting beneficiary privacy.