News on Wellness

Medicare Payment Data of Individual Physicians to Be Released

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The information was first announced in a blog post of Mr. Jonathan Blum, the deputy administrator for American Medical Agency. Mr Blum had written that information on payments to individual physicians working on US health plan for disabled and elderly will be made public. In Medicare, approximately $635 million have been made as payments towards doctors for their medical procedures and services. Data will contain detailed payment information for 55, 0000 physicians.

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As per Bloomberg, the AMA has been fighting for this information to be released and made public for over 3 decades. It was in May 2013 that a federal judge lifted the injunction of barring the information being made public. According to Mr Blum, it is important to share information because this will show how the Medicare program is actually working. He had further written that, this is the way consumers will be able to compare services they have received from individual physicians with value they have received. Further, the data will also help them to take decisions and go for cost-effective Medicare.

In a letter to the American Medical Association, Mr Bluhm and mentioned that the AMA has received a number of FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests ever since the injunction has been lifted. Further, he added that if the services have been provided to very few (less than 10) patients, the data will not be released, to protect the privacy of the patients.

According to Mr Bluhm, this transparency will help provide better quality of medical service as it is monitored by Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Further, he had written that it is important to share this information because the public interest outweighs the privacy interest.

President of the Physicians Association, Ms Ardis Dee Hoven, said in a statement that though the Medical Association prefers transparency and like to see the data public, it would be better if the information is shown to the physicians to be reviewed before it is released. Further Ms Hoven added that the AMA is still concerned to a certain extent about the data being public as it should not mislead public into going for harmful or inappropriate treatments and also make biased decisions.

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