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Ways and Means Leaders Urge CMS to Improve Mental & Behavioral Health Data Transparency

April 22, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee leaders sent a bipartisan letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, pressing the agency to collect, analyze, and publish additional data regarding the mental and behavioral health of Medicare patients.

The letter was sent by Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim McDermott (D-WA).

In their letter, the lawmakers called on CMS to expand upon its recent initiatives to improve data transparency so that health care providers can better meet the needs of beneficiaries. This information will also enable Congress to better understand the mental and behavioral health issues that Medicare beneficiaries face in their daily lives.

While CMS has a standard list of chronic conditions used for data releases, the information relating to mental health conditions should be more granular in order to be meaningful,the Members wrote.CMS needs to ensure that access to necessary data on America’s seniors is available as necessary to enable providers to best serve them … We strongly recommend that the availability of this data be reexamined in order to coordinate care for mental and behavioral health and to improve the delivery of the health care that our seniors expect and deserve.

The full letter can be found here.