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Down in the (data) dumps

Down in the (data) dumps

As users of our HME Databank very well know, we still don't have 2011 data for Provider Share (top providers) and Product Share (product utilization), and I'm profusely sorry about this.

Believe me, I'm as upset about it as the Databank users that I've been talking to on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

I mean, it's almost 2013.


For what it's worth, I made the request for this data in May, as I always have for the past several years. Typically, it takes the good folks at the PDAC (CMS's Pricing, Data Analysis and Coding contractor) three months to fulfill the request, which allows us to update the Databank with new data late August/early September.

Not this year, apparently.

I've been calling the PDAC regularly since August to ask when we'll get the data, and every time I'm told that my request is in QA (quality assurance). This week when I called, I asked: What's taking so stinkin' long?

I was told that the PDAC has seen a significant increase in the number of requests for data, that many of these requests have come from “stakeholders” and that said requests from “stakeholders” must be given priority.


(I feel the need to point out, here, that we pay the PDAC to fulfill these requests. They're not free. In fact, for the requests we file for the Databank, we have to pay in full in advance due to the size of the requests. Can you imagine all transactions worked this way?)

When I was told that the request was still in QA, I didn't have a clear enough mind (see second paragraph above where I talk about being upset) to ask the natural follow-up question: Who are these “stakeholders”?

CMS? The Office of Inspector General (OIG)? The Government Accountability Office (GAO)? We all know there's an unsatiated appetite for data related to health care right now.

God forbid we go into late November/early December without the new data, but if we do, the good news is that the 2012 State of the Industry Report will be included in the December issue. This will have data on the top providers across product categories and utilization for some of the most popular DME, diabetes, infusion, respiratory and mobility codes.

In the meantime, bear with me.


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