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CMS Seeks to Create National Directory of Health Care Providers and Services

March 1, 2023

In October 2022, the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare (CMS) asked for public input on creating a National Directory of Healthcare Providers and Services (NDH), with the intent to address today’s fragmented health care directory landscape.

Patients’ struggle to find the most current information about in-network providers increases the risk of unnecessary health care costs, and providers are burdened with the redundant task of reporting to multiple databases. A robust, national health care directory would create a single system that facilitates interoperability and creates an electronic data exchange.

CMS’ request for information called for specific input including:

  • How an NDH update using a single Application Programming Interface (API) could reduce provider burden.
  • If a single format and channel for data exchange between providers would improve public health reporting.
  • How an NDH could support network interoperability through the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA).
  • Which providers and data elements should be included.

Responses from associations have been mixed. The American Hospital Association requested that CMS take a pause on creating the directory “until there is greater clarity on how it will fit in among the other existing provider information data sets, especially with respect to how patients will know when to rely on the NDH versus their health plan’s provider directory.”

On the other side of the spectrum, the American Dental Association provided a wealth of suggestions and feedback and indicated the association stands “ready to work with CMS on the development of a national provider directory.”

With the deadline for comments passed, we should expect CMS to publish a full picture of findings in the coming months. The AMA is poised to support CMS and its stakeholders in finding the most effective way to establish a National Directory of Healthcare Providers and Services.