Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CMS needs your help in physician Medicare earnings release policy

WhereToFindCare.com PhysiciansOn May 31, 2013, a Florida federal district court lifted a permanent injunction originally issued in 1979 that prohibited the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (as HHS was then known) from disclosing annual Medicare reimbursement payments to individual physicians or in a manner that could identify individual physicians.

HHS is now seeking input from the public on whether to modify the policy and if so, how:

(1) whether physicians have a privacy interest in information concerning payments they receive from Medicare and, if so, how to properly weigh the balance between that privacy interest and the public interest in disclosure of Medicare payment information, including physician-identifiable reimbursement data;

(2) what specific policies CMS should consider with respect to disclosure of individual physician payment data that will further the goals of improving the quality and value of care, enhancing access and availability of CMS data, increasing transparency in government, and reducing fraud, waste, and abuse within CMS programs; and

(3) the form in which CMS should release information about individual physician payment, should CMS choose to release it (e.g., line item claim details, aggregated data at the individual physician level).

Comments will only be taken for 30 days following August 6, 2013. Deadline:
postmarked by no later than 5:00 p.m. ET within 30 days. See link below for other ways to submit your feedback.
We encourage the public to participate in this request.Here is the link to their page with details on how to respond. http://downloads.cms.gov/files/Request-for-Public-Comment-rePhysician-Data-8-6-2013.pdf
Please comment below as well.

Is this something that should be available publicly? From your perspective, what is to be gained from this information being public or what is to be lost from keeping it private.

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