Care Compare Goes Hi-Tech

Care Compare Goes Hi-Tech

New website is tailored to mobile devices.

COVID-19 may have delayed the revamp of Medicare’s Compare web tools, but it didn’t scuttle the effort altogether.

The Medicare Care Compare website, which rolls up its eight separate Compare websites, including Home Health Compare and Hospice Compare, launched Sept. 3. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) first announced the change in January and originally planned to launch it in the spring, but the pandemic pushed those plans back.

What is Care Compare?

CMS says in a Sept. 3 press release, “Care Compare provides a single user-friendly interface that patients and caregivers can use to make informed decisions about healthcare based on cost, quality of care, volume of services, and other data. With just one click, patients can find information that is easy to understand about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care services instead of searching through multiple tools.”

Why the Change?

The change builds on the eMedicare initiative, first launched by the Trump administration in 2018 “to deliver simple tools and information to current and future Medicare beneficiaries,” CMS says in the release. The site is optimized for mobile and tablet use — for example, accessing the tool using a smartphone can initiate phone calls to providers simply by clicking on the provider’s phone number, according to CMS.

What has Changed?

The new site simplifies quality checking for beneficiaries. For example, currently, someone who is planning to have bypass surgery would need to visit Hospital Compare, Nursing Home Compare, and Home Health Compare individually to research providers for the different phases of their surgery and rehabilitation. “Now, those patients can start their search at Care Compare to find and compare providers that meet their healthcare needs that includes information about quality measures presented similarly and clearly across all provider types and care settings,” CMS says.

Immediate Action Needed

For now, “consumers and other stakeholders will be able to use the original eight compare tools while CMS continues to gather feedback and considers additional improvements to the tool,” CMS says.

Providers can try out the site and give feedback to CMS about the process.

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Rebecca L. Johnson, BS, is an executive editor, for The Coding Institute newsletters. She has covered the home health and hospice markets for 20 years.

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