CMS to Publicly Release Medicare Physician Payment Data As Early As April 9


On Tuesday, April 2, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it would soon begin publishing individual Medicare physician billing data, despite objections from numerous provider groups, including the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA). CMS could publicly post the data as early as April 9.

For more than three decades provider groups have successfully argued that such data could reveal proprietary details about physicians’ practices and could cause harm to doctors by publishing inaccurate or misleading presentations of the data.

The policy change came after a federal judge in May 2013 lifted a 33-year-old injunction that barred the government from giving the public access to a confidential database of Medicare insurance claims.

The data to be released will include information on payments made under Medicare Part B in 2012 to all providers who participated.

Specifically, the data will include:

  • Physicians' names and addresses;
  • Summaries of the services provided; and
  • The amount providers were paid for the services

In total, the data will list details of more than $77 billion in Medicare payments to more than 880,000 providers for about 6,000 different procedures and services.

While committed to transparency, CPMA is urging CMS to give doctors the opportunity to review and correct their information prior to public release.

“The California Podiatric Medical Association is concerned that CMS’ broad approach to releasing provider payment data could mislead the public into making inappropriate and potentially harmful treatment decisions and will result in unwarranted bias against doctors that could adversely affect their careers,” said CPMA President Carolyn McAloon, DPM