CMS Releases Physician Payment Data

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released data on the health care services delivered by individual physicians in 2012 and how much Medicare paid for these services. As of April 9, Medicare Part B Fee-For-Service data are available on more than 880,000 health care professionals across all 50 states and will include 6,000 types of services and procedures. Data is available in Excel by provider last name here.

"Publication of physician payment data without risk adjustment or description of the context will not be helpful to patients and may even lead to inaccurate and misleading conclusions," said ACC President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, FACC, in a statement. "The American College of Cardiology is disappointed and troubled that CMS has chosen to release granular physician payment data without providing physicians the opportunity to review to ensure accuracy. The ACC supports price transparency across all aspects of the health care system, but we fear this information can be easily misinterpreted without a complete understanding of patient complexity and the cumbersome Medicare billing system."

Patients may view this data as an opportunity to raise questions about the care they receive. The College encourages physicians to view this as a chance to engage with patients about their care. The ACC recommends providing patients with information about guidelines and appropriate use criteria (AUC). Physicians are also encouraged to explain how the guidelines and AUC support the recommended course of treatment.

Keywords: Medicare Part B, Salaries and Fringe Benefits, Fee-for-Service Plans, Medicaid, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.), Risk Adjustment

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