Except as otherwise provided in this subchapter and in the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 [45 U.S.C. 231 et seq.], the insurance programs established by this subchapter shall be administered by the Secretary. The Secretary may perform any of his functions under this subchapter directly, or by contract providing for payment in advance or by way of reimbursement, and in such installments, as the Secretary may deem necessary.
In the course of any hearing, investigation, or other proceeding that he is authorized to conduct under this subchapter, the Secretary may administer oaths and affirmations.
The data described in this paragraph are standardized extracts (as determined by the Secretary) of claims data under parts A, B, and D for items and services furnished under such parts for one or more specified geographic areas and time periods requested by a qualified entity. Beginning July 1, 2016, if the Secretary determines appropriate, the data described in this paragraph may also include standardized extracts (as determined by the Secretary) of claims data under subchapters XIX and XXI for assistance provided under such subchapters for one or more specified geographic areas and time periods requested by a qualified entity. The Secretary shall take such actions as the Secretary deems necessary to protect the identity of individuals entitled to or enrolled for benefits under such parts or under subchapters  XIX or XXI.
Data described in paragraph (3) shall be made available to a qualified entity under this subsection at a fee equal to the cost of making such data available. Any fee collected pursuant to the preceding sentence shall be deposited, for periods prior to July 1, 2016, into the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund under section 1395t of this title, and, beginning July 1, 2016, into the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Program Management Account.
The Secretary shall not make data described in paragraph (3) available to a qualified entity unless the qualified entity agrees to release the information on the evaluation of performance of providers of services and suppliers. Such entity shall only use such data, and information derived from such evaluation, for the reports under subparagraph (C). Data released to a qualified entity under this subsection shall not be subject to discovery or admission as evidence in judicial or administrative proceedings without consent of the applicable provider of services or supplier.