Government websites fail to provide adequate information about Medicare, GAO finds
WASHINGTON — With many seniors having high medical bills, a congressional investigation found that federal government websites meant to give Medicare patients basic consumer tools instead fail to provide adequate information on out-of-pocket costs and even quality of care.
The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office found that Medicare lacks clear procedures for getting useful information to consumers.
The report, obtained before its public release, finds “critical weaknesses” in five consumer-information websites run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that seek to inform how well hospitals, nursing homes, physicians and other Medicare providers are doing.
The GAO said a confusing layout, data gaps and lack of customized information make it virtually impossible for consumers to get the information they need, and it won’t be fixed anytime soon, even as the federal government plans new websites on the quality of hospice, inpatient rehabilitation and long-term care.
It is the latest report to detail problems in the government’s health care websites. The Obama administration has grappled with the technology meltdown experienced last year by HealthCare.gov as well as glitches in the Sept. 30 rollout of data on payments doctors receive from drug companies.