Puget Sound Health Alliance, Seattle, became the first organization to win an HHS designation that eventually could give the organization access to Medicare data on hospital and physician performance. HHS designated the alliance a Community Leader for Value-driven Health Care, a prerequisite for gaining access to the data. Other steps follow, said Diane Giese, the alliances communications director. The alliance, a regional partnership of employers, physicians, hospitals and others, was able to prove that it had the financial means and the broad support necessary to move forward with a public reporting initiative, Giese said. It also must establish that it can comply with privacy laws and handle the massive volume of data, but federal agencies still are developing standards for those areas, she said. -- by Matthew DoBias
Data group wins key HHS designation
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