The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) will soon allow patients to compare their physicians with other physicians around the country. On April 2, 2014, CMS announced that it will publish billing data on more than 880,000 health care professionals in all 50 states. In a letter to the American Medical Association, the Principal Deputy Administrator at CMS, Jonathan Blum, said CMS intends to publish the data publicly on April 9 or earlier.
In the letter, Blum wrote:
Over the past 30 years, the landscape has changed with respect to physician information that is available to the public. The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 extended health insurance coverage to millions of additional people and included a range of provisions which use transparency in the health care system as a tool to improve health care quality. As a result, the health care system is changing from a system dominated by a dearth of usable, actionable information to one where care coordination and dramatically enhanced data availability and data exchange will power greater innovation, higher quality, increased productivity and lower costs.
Finally, Blum wrote that ” the data to be released would assist the public’s understanding of Medicare fraud, waste, and abuse, as well as shed light on payments to physicians for services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries . . . .”
For the full blog post and a copy of the letter to the American Medical Association, click here.