This presentation examines the complaints made to CMS regarding inaccuracy in online provider directories.
Perlman, E., Martin, B., Gall, E. & Harris, I. (2017, August). Inaccurate Online Provider Directories Linked to Beneficiary Harm. Presentation at the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media, Atlanta, GA.
Like many health insurance consumers, Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries rely on their Medicare Advantage Organization’s (MAO) online provider directory to make informed health care decisions. There have recently been substantial media attention and anecdotal reports of inaccurate online provider directories. However, little empirical evidence exists on the extent of and reasons for such inaccuracies. In 2014, CMS's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received a Congressional request to evaluate access to care for enrollees in Medicaid plans, and discovered many issues with the directories used for the study. In its 2016 Call Letter, CMS noted “a range of issues with online provider directories,” including inaccurate and outdated information. CMS contracted with IMPAQ International, LLC, to study the effects of these inaccuracies on Medicare Advantage beneficiaries, as well as MAOs’ processes and best practices in keeping directories up to date.