Audit Identifies Need for Center for Health Information and Analysis to Update its Publicly Accessible Information

BOSTON – In an audit released today, the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) found the Center for Health Information and Analysis (CHIA) has not updated its consumer healthcare information website, CompareCare, as required by Massachusetts General Laws.

The website offers various tools to consumers, such as a tool to compare costs of medical procedures at different healthcare facilities, the quality of local hospitals and healthcare facilities, and information about health insurance coverage to help consumers make informed decisions. The audit reviewed the period of January 1, 2019 through November 30, 2020, and found that in that time the CompareCare website only contained healthcare information from 2015 and 2016.

In its audit response, CHIA listed a number of factors related to the inadequacy of the data available, but ultimately acknowledged that those inadequacies did not prevent the agency from fulfilling its responsibility to update the website annually. “CHIA now anticipates being able to produce the extracts necessary for annual updates to CompareCare,” according to its official response.

“The CompareCare mandate has presented a challenge for CHIA, since the data available to it is not as robust as it would like, and I appreciate those concerns. Nonetheless, the agency is required to make an effort annually to provide certain information to consumers,” said State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.

CHIA is an independent agency that serves as the Commonwealth’s primary hub for health care data and a primary source of health care analytics that support policy development. CHIA is managed by an executive director, who is appointed by a majority vote of the Governor, Attorney General, and State Auditor, and is overseen by the Health Information and Analysis Oversight Council, which manages its budget allocation and provides guidance on research and analytics conducted by CHIA. Additionally, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, the State Auditor makes two appointments to the 11-member Health Information and Analysis Oversight Council. During fiscal year 2021, CHIA had an approved budget of $31,320,586, and during our audit period had approximately 150 employees.

The full audit report is available here.
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About the Office of the State Auditor
The Office of the State Auditor conducts performance audits of state government programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency. The OSA has identified approximately $1.3 billion in unallowable, questionable, or potentially fraudulent spending and saving opportunities for the Commonwealth since 2011. Last year, auditees reported implementation of 92 percent of the OSA’s audit recommendations.

For more information, visit http://www.mass.gov/auditor or follow Auditor Bump on Twitter @MassAuditor, on Facebook, or subscribe to the Auditor’s Report e-newsletter.

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