In December 2010 under regulations set forth by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched the publicly-accessible Physician Compare (PC) website. CMS states that the PC website is intended for two purposes: to provide information for consumers to encourage informed health care decisions and to create explicit incentives for physicians to maximize performance. CMS also provides the PC data files, which are what the ASA Health Policy Research Department (HPR) frequently uses for exploratory workforce analyses. The PC database can be accessed through four downloadable files (includes 41 total variables) available on the PC website:

Examples of variables within the National Downloadable File dataset include: National Provider Identifier numbers (NPIs), names, addresses, gender, year of medical school graduation, American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) board...

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