The Environmental Protection Agency has been ahead of several other cabinet level agencies when it comes to putting data online. For several years now some of their main datasets are available with interactive features such as maps and in a downloadable format. Now according to EPA’s open government plan, the agency is planning on releasing several new data driven projects by the end of 2010, some of which are already public.
The first, managed by Horizon Systems is a suite geospatial data that compiles the features of several databases related to watershed management. This project part of which which ...
Over the last few years, hospitals in a few states have consistently received more money than others from Medicare in so-called "outlier payments" for inpatient services. These additional payments are handed out when a hospital takes on an unusually expensive case.
This takeaway comes from a quick review of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)' "Dashboard," a new online repository of spending data.
While the Dashboard is still in its beta version, and currently only has inpatient data (no home health or nursing home information, for example), a few points ... Continue reading
Recruiters have long used video games to sell military service to young people. The armed forces also use games -- er, "computer simulations" -- to train troops for battle. Now the Veterans Affairs Department plans to join the fun by sending its nurses to Second Life.
According to its open government plan, VA health care providers will "virtually practice patient safety techniques" in Second Life's online world, using alternate identities called avatars. The idea is to have providers work through scenarios before they encounter them in the real world.
Just how effective is the Obama Administration’s effort to help homeowners stave off foreclosure? It’s hard to know, in part because detailed data that could provide part of the answer is not available to the public.
The Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) started in February 2009. To date, the $75 billion program has helped about 170,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure by reducing mortgage payments, but the nuts and bolts of how loan modifications are structured, the criteria used to deny and approve modifications, and the documentation used to evaluate the original loans are unknown. The special inspector general ...Continue reading
As part of the First Lady’s campaign to combat childhood obesity, the Department of Agriculture in February launched the Your Food Environment Atlas – an online mapping tool of the nation’s access to food at the county level.
The tool, developed by the USDA Economic Research Service, also happens to serve the dual role of becoming one of three datasets that Agriculture plans to add to its contributions to Data.gov as agencies continue to comply with the White House Open Government Directive.
While the tool is labeled as a method for the public to access information about their ...
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services appear to be on to something with their promised new datasets. It's a leap for an agency whose previous offerings were a confusing mishmash of poorly-labeled files. If they continue to add granularity as they roll out more features, journalists could have a useful and innovative set of tools on their hands.
The “Dashboard” CMS intends to create, a demo of which is currently online, looks at Medicare spending on services. It's a good tool for quickly grasping the big picture; you can view data as a bubble chart, for example ...
Cabinet agencies (and others) released their Open Government Plans last week with much fanfare, mixed reviews, and many promises for... View ArticleContinue reading
"I now realize that I must have had my first glimmer of the need for
preventive journalism as a young West Virginian who would hear of a
mine disaster, then read heartbreaking stories of weeping widows and
indignant editorials demanding effective safety regulations. But in the
years that followed, no reporter went down into the mines to see if
they were safer. We only found out they were not after the next
disaster when a new round of heartbreaking articles and indignant
editorials would appear." -- Charles Peters, Understanding government.com
This week the Labor Department began releasing data that reporters ...
Sigh. I feel like a disappointed parent. When the details of the Open Government Directive were announced early last December... View ArticleContinue reading
Monday’s explosion that killed 25 miners at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia came at a mine that had been flagged by inspectors for a series of violations – 3000 since 1995 and more than 500 in 2009 alone.
How does that compare to other mines? Because of the way the federal government releases the data, we can't say.
Data on safety inspections is published in the Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) Web site, where users can find information on mine safety, inspections and violations. But getting to it is the hard part ...