The Government Accountability Office (GAO) found in a new report that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS) has shown key improvements in accuracy and completeness of data that it handles.

T-MSIS is an initiative by CMS to improve state-reported data available for overseeing Medicaid, which includes two key data sources: Priority items and Analytic files.

Priority items are areas of data for CMS that are critical for program oversight. CMS’ assessment of states’ data submissions for its first 12 priority items identified significant improvements in meeting agency data standards over a 22-month period. Analytic files, on the other hand, are publicly available, research-ready T-MSIS data. CMS’ assessments found that all states submitted some data for 67 of 69 topics relevant to their Medicaid programs – an improvement from what GAO found in 2017.

Despite that improvement, however, GAO said it made 13 recommendations to further improve T-MSIS data and expedite their use for program oversight between July 2014 and September 2020 – and found most of those haven’t been addressed yet.

“While CMS’s assessments of priority item and analytic file data indicate improvement in the completeness and accuracy of T-MSIS data, GAO also found that these assessments highlight areas where data do not meet the agency’s standards,” wrote GAO.

Surveying those recommendations, GAO said that CMS has already addressed five of the 13 recommendations. But it said there are eight recommendations yet to be addressed, including recommendations to improve data for oversight of payments to providers and managed care organizations.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.