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 Statist racket: Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare

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Statist racket: Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare Vide
PostSubject: Statist racket: Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare   Statist racket: Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare Icon_minitimeWed Apr 09, 2014 3:30 am

In 2012, an enterprising ophthalmologist in south Florida received $20.8 million in Medicare payments, the highest amount the government health plan for the elderly paid an individual provider that year, according to a preliminary analysis of federal data.

Statist racket: Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare ?m=02&d=20140409&t=2&i=881361926&w=580&fh=&fw=&ll=&pl=&r=CBREA380C8I00

A family-practice doctor in Maryland may have received an average of more than $86,000 per patient that year, according to a Reuters review of the data. And a California laboratory apparently received $190 million, the most Medicare paid a single entity in 2012.

After decades of litigation and over the strenuous objections of the American Medical Association, the leading U.S. doctors group, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Wednesday made public for the first time how much Medicare pays individual doctors.



The massive data release, totaling nearly 10 million lines, also includes which medical services each of more than 880,000 physicians and other healthcare providers nationwide billed Medicare for in 2012.

"While the data are not perfect, this is a major milestone in healthcare transparency," said cancer surgeon Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, whose 2012 book, "Unaccountable," argues for making public more information on doctors and hospitals.

In addition to allowing patients to see which doctors perform a particular procedure most frequently - often a proxy for expertise in rare and difficult surgeries such as colon operations - the data are expected to offer a roadmap to where waste and fraud are most rampant not only in the Medicare program but throughout the American healthcare system.

"If you see that a doctor is doing a procedure hundreds or thousands of times that should be done only on a small number of patients, you wonder," said Dr. John Santa, medical director of Consumer Reports. "Are they committing fraud by billing for something they're not actually doing, doing unnecessary procedures because they're greedy, or do they practice someplace where so many people need the procedure?"

More:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/09/us-usa-medicare-data-idUSBREA3809H20140409?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&rpc=71&google_editors_picks=true
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