California Healthline: CMS To Begin To Release Medicare Physician Payment Data

On Tuesday, HHS published a notice in the Federal Register that CMS will begin to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests for Medicare physician payment data, Modern Healthcare reports (Carlson, Modern Healthcare, 1/14).


In May 2013, a federal judge lifted a 33-year-old injunction that barred the government from giving the public access to a confidential database of Medicare insurance claims.

The court injunction stemmed from a lawsuit that the American Medical Association and the Florida Medical Association filed to prevent former President Jimmy Carter’s administration from publishing a list of annual Medicare reimbursements.

The database, known as the Carrier Standard Analytic File, contains information on physicians and other health care providers participating in Medicare who are paid on a fee-for-service basis. It incorporates all physician claims that Medicare paid directly.

Federal investigators can use the database to identify fraud, but its information on physicians and other individual providers had been kept confidential from the public.

In August 2013, CMS asked for public comments on whether physicians have a privacy interest regarding their Medicare reimbursements (iHealthBeat, 11/4/13).


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