Release of physician payment data an attempt to increase transparency
After more than 30 years of holding Medicare physician payment information from the public, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released 2012 Medicare payment data for 880,000 physicians on April 9. CMS has stated that this information provides researchers, policymakers and the public with health care system transparency, particularly with regard to spending and physician practice patterns. View the CMS physician dataset.
The presidents of the American Academy of Dermatology Association (AADA), American College of Mohs Surgery (ACMS), the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery Association (ASDSA), the American Society of Dermatopathology (ASDP), and the American Society for Mohs Surgery (ASMS), issued a statement to members expressing their support for transparency that provides meaningful and reliable health care information for patients and timely, clinically relevant data to help physicians provide high-quality, high-value care. However, the groups expressed concern that the broad release of Medicare physician payment data, without appropriate context, could hinder patient understanding about the value of appropriate, medically necessary health care services as recommended by their physician.
Background and AADA advocacy
Earlier this year, CMS announced that it would consider Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for physician payment information, and would weigh privacy interests of individual physicians against the public interest when deciding whether to disclose the amounts that were paid to individual physicians under Medicare. However, given the significant administrative burden of considering individual FOIA requests, CMS instead released all of the physician payment information from 2012 to the public.
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