CMS to Reveal Physician Pay Starting Mid-March

Healthcare Training Resource
January 22, 2014 — 1,061 views  
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Soon, the information regarding physicians' Medicare payments will be a lot more transparent, courtesy of a change in policy as announced by CMS. While the officials had earlier blocked the release of the physicians' payment related data, so as to safeguard the physician's privacy, they recently decided on revising the policy.

CHS had released aggregated data and stats about Medicare spending, quality, utilization and other details about the quality of performance of healthcare providers, hospitals, and nursing homes, in 2002. In 2013, information regarding average charges related to most common 100 inpatient services in about 300 hospitals all over the nation was released. It released the average charges of certain 30 outpatient procedures last June.

The policy change move came after taking into account nearly 130 comments that pored over from over 300 organizations. CHS will evaluate each request now, to determine the physician Medicare payments for each case. The policy is said to go into effect in about 60 days from the time of publication. Along with this, CMS will create aggregate data records about physician services that will be made accessible to the public.

How Does the Policy Help?

CMS says that, the revised policy and the increased transparency that comes with it can be beneficial to:

  • Providers- who want to collaborate and improve the healthcare system, along with delivering services at affordable low costs.
  • Consumers- so they get a reliable and tangible measure of the performance and quality of the provider, letting them make an informed choice, along with encouraging competition and innovation amongst providers.
  • Journalists- in detecting fraudulent and unsafe practices.

Stakeholders have raised concerns over data integrity issues, which CMS understands. It is determining a way to maintain transparency in the physician payment data while protecting their privacy to prevent cases of potential data misuse.

What Physicians Have to Say

Physicians' association representatives said that they're reviewing the policy, although they support the cause of improving transparency and access to Medicare records, while it is placed it is in context. Some physicians have welcomed it with open arms as they have been an active part of the process by supporting a renewal in the policy to achieve transparency in Medicare billing records. They stress on the importance of the data being released in appropriate context too, as drawing conclusions from the numbers may not always add up.

Healthcare Training Resource