CMS Care Compare empowers patients when making important healthcare decisions

Sept. 8, 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the launch of its Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS healthcare compare tools available on 

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 about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare services instead of searching through multiple tools. 

By offering a user-friendly interface and a simple design that is optimized for mobile and tablet use, it is easier to find information that is important to patients when shopping for healthcare. Enhancements for mobile use will give practical benefits, like accessing the tool using a smartphone to initiate phone calls to providers by clicking on the provider’s phone number. 

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, including information about quality measures presented similarly and clearly across all provider types and care settings. 

Patients will also find helpful hints and guides throughout Care Compare. For example, when searching for a nursing home, patients have the ability to utilize a checklist with common questions and considerations when selecting a nursing home. While the measures and data used for Care Compare have not changed, the way information is displayed is now different. During a transition period, 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. As new information about quality and cost are added to the compare tools, Care Compare will be updated to reflect that information. 

·       In conjunction with the launch of Care Compare, additional improvements have been made to other CMS data tools to help Medicare beneficiaries compare costs. The Procedure Price Look Up (PPL) tool now includes physician fees in addition to facility fees, offering people with Medicare a more accurate prediction of the true out-of-pocket costs. 

·        The Provider Data Catalog (PDC) better serves innovators and stakeholders who are interested in detailed CMS data and use interactive and downloadable datasets like those currently available on The PDC now makes quality datasets available through an improved Application Programming Interface (API), allowing innovators in the field to easily access and analyze the CMS publicly reported data and make it useful for patients.  In addition, the PPL now makes data available through an API, and integrates Current Procedural Terminology code data from the American Medical Association. 

Other new tools launched under the eMedicare initiative include: 

·        A completely redesigned Medicare Plan Finder Tool for last Open Enrollment;

·        “What’s Covered” app that tells people what’s covered and what’s not in Original Medicare;

·        A price transparency tool that lets consumers compare Medicare payments and copayments for certain procedures performed in both hospital outpatient departments and ambulatory surgical centers;

·        Interactive online decision support to help people better understand and evaluate their Medicare coverage options and costs between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage;

·        An online service that lets people quickly see how different coverage choices will affect their estimated out-of-pocket costs

·        Webchat option in Medicare Plan Finder helps people get on-the-spot support; and

·        Easy-to-use surveys across so patients and consumers can continue to offer feedback about their online experiences. 

CMS has the release