CMS has provided access to data collected through the administration of claims to researchers since 2003 through the PUF (Public Use Files). These files contain useful information on patients going back to 1999. These files are offered for free as CSV (spreadsheet) files and offer valuable information on specific healthcare services.
These files are designed for researchers, but for you number crunchers out there, they can provide valuable insight into industry trends and how your own organization compares to your competitors.
For example, the current PUF file on hospice beneficiaries contains data for 2010 for a total of 56,943 beneficiaries. The file contains eight pieces of information for each one. These totals come from the data dictionary and code book describing this file. The totals themselves are very interesting: