Thursday, September 18, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Searchable Database Covers Medicare Services Provided by U.S. Doctors

The federal government this week released detailed data on Medicare spending, including what specific doctors have been paid for procedures, what procedures cost, and how providers are compensated by the government.

Searchable Database Covers Medicare Services Provided by U.S. Doctors

The federal government this week released detailed data on Medicare spending, including what specific doctors have been paid for procedures, what procedures cost, and how providers are compensated by the government.

The 2012 data was released by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) after a federal judge last year lifted a 1979 injunction that held that doctors’ privacy rights outweighed the public’s right to know how tax dollars are spent. The new ruling was the result of a lawsuit by Dow Jones & Co., The Wall Street Journal’s parent company.

While some doctors received millions of dollars in payments, data analysts advised caution in interpreting the numbers. For example, the payment data includes expenses that doctors incur in providing the services.

In addition to doctors, the database includes information on payments to ambulance squads, medical-testing laboratories, and other healthcare providers.

In announcing the release of the data on Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said that consumers currently have limited information about how doctors and other healthcare professionals practice medicine.

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