Today, CMS announced a standard machine-readable file (MRF) format recommendation for the hospital transparency disclosures. CMS arrived at this standard by working in conjunction with innovators like Turquoise (nbd), as well as leaders at health systems large and small.

Since January 2021, Turquoise has worked tirelessly to ingest the MRFs of all 6,000+ hospitals in the US, quarter after quarter. The lack of a standard schema up to this point has made it difficult for third parties like Turquoise to create meaningful consumer experiences atop the data. Other data consumers, such as employers, advisors, academics, providers, and innovators, have also struggled to make sense of the newly-available charges and rates.

We’re thrilled to see CMS take this step towards a universal standard hospital MRF. The schema brings more specificity to payment methodologies, code types, and naming conventions that will assist us in pulling credible data from the files.  It also provides flexibility to create a normalized (tall) or tabular (wide) file, such that hospitals can adopt a file architecture that is minimally burdensome. We expect that in the near future, this standard will become part of the mandate and all hospitals will operate on a single schema.

We also know that the new standard will bring a whole new slew of questions. If you’re a hospital, and you’re interested to learn a bit more about the standard, or how to adapt your process for 2023 and beyond, drop us a line!