The CMS Open Payments database is up for the public to view, but the site is difficult to navigate. Here is a step by step guide to using the site.
- Go to openpaymentsdata.cms.gov
- From the list of databases, click on the General Payment Data with Identifying Recipient Information – Detailed Dataset 2013 Reporting Year (or skip step one and just click on the link) as in the image.
- The page opens with a spreadsheet and a number of filter conditions. Write in how you want to filter the spreadsheet (e.g. filter for last name and city/state). You can add filters, such as the first name on the page too (see Add A New Filter Condition in lower right corner).
- Horizontally scroll the spreadsheet to see the columns you are interested in. There are a lot of blank or useless columns. You can remove unwanted columns by clicking on the Manage button (brown button with a gear).
- Make sure you are looking at just one physician’s data. In the figure below I have horizontally scrolled to the list of physician names. Note that there is a Physician_Profile_ID with a unique ID number for each physician. Pick out the physician you want to look at and add a filter for that ID number. Remove other filters. This should give you the data you want on an individual physician.
And that’s it. I haven’t explored the other databases. I haven’t found any tool (other than a calculator) to sum the dollar amounts. [ADDENDUM: Use the Export button to export the data in a form compatible with your spreadsheet. Options include Excel and CSV formats.] This information should be enough to get you started with the Open Payments database.