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Obamacare’s Next Step: Fixing Medicare and Medicaid Data Sharing

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The agency that fumbled but seems to have repaired is preparing to launch a new program authorized under President Obama’s health care reform initiative to better integrate federal Medicare data with data from state Medicaid offices, contracting documents show.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services posted a notice on Tuesday seeking a contractor to align state and federal data sets so the government can better serve the roughly 10 million Americans who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits, saving money and reducing the number of benefits that are improperly granted or withheld.

The sources sought notice was posted and then quickly canceled on the government’s Fed Biz Opps contracting site. A CMS official said the post was removed because of a website error, not a change in policy, and that it will be reposted soon.

The notice seeks contractors who can help develop common protocols and guidelines for their Medicaid data, which will make it easier for computer systems to recognize individuals across state and federal data sets. The proposed contract will also include creating common taxonomies between states, which essentially means standardizing the terms states use to describe particular benefits and classifications.

The proposed contract will also include helping states fill gaps or fix inconsistencies in their Medicaid data.

A sources sought notice doesn’t obligate the government to purchase any new technology or services.

Joint Medicare and Medicaid enrollees account for about $300 billion annually, according to the notice. They make up 19 percent of Medicare enrollees and 27 percent of Medicare spending.

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