The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a database of Medicare Part B payments from 2012 to give the public more transparency into the government and what taxpayer dollars are doing in regards to Medicare, angering many physicians throughout the country. The physicians are upset because there could be errors in the data, and the American Medical Association had sent out a statement that physicians will have no way to review or correct the information, says Anjali Dooley, an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri.
CMS had released this data to prevent fraud and abuse, which is a growing problem in this country. However, physicians are concerned that the fraud and abuse might be overemphasized and paint them in a bad light, notes Dooley. There are doctors in large practice groups, such as ophthalmologists, urologists, and orthopedic surgeons, who see many Medicare patients. The data doesn't take into consideration that multiple providers employed by one large practice might all be using the same Medicare provider number, giving the impression that one doctor or practice is abusing the Medicare system.
The lack of context in how this raw data was released, along with the amount of detail provided in the dump, has some medical practices and physicians considering legal and administrative appeals to update or modify how this information is presented and released in the future.
Anjali Dooley is an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri and is an occasional contributor and commentator for The Legal Broadcast Network. For more information on Attorney Dooley, click here. The Legal Broadcast Network, provides online, on-demand, legal video content, provided by attorneys, law professors and others from around the world. The Legal Broadcast Network is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.