CMS announced on December 30th a new feature to enhance its Physician Directory tool, called Physician Compare, which expands and updates the existing Healthcare Provider Directory. The new site, www.medicare.gov/find-a-doctor, was mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In the first phase of the roll-out, the categories of information on the Physician Compare website are limited to the following: contact and address information for offices, the professional's medical specialty, where the professional completed his or her degree as well as residency or other clinical training, whether the professional speaks a foreign language, the professional's gender, and whether or not the physician participates in the Medicare program. In the second phase of the Physician Compare planned for later in 2011, the site will report whether or not the provider chose to participate in a voluntary effort with the agency to encourage doctors to prescribe medicines electronically. According to the Press Release, CMS announced that further expansions are planned for future years.
You would be well advised to review the entry posted on the Physician Compare site with your own information. Of significant import, providers should ensure that their Medicare participation status is properly identified. I know some physicians have indicated that the office location information for them has not been entirely accurate. Note that the information in the Physician Compare database comes from the Provider Enrollment, Chain, and Ownership System (PECOS) system and an external data source. If there are errors or omissions, please consult the "Provider" page for details on the process to correct these errors.