Medicare released the most comprehensive ever look at how Medicare dollars are paid out to physicians across the United States.  In the name of transparency, this data drop will “provide consumers with an ability to compare doctors and treatments in a way they have never had until now.” Will it really? Let’s look a bit closer at the data release. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the payment data release aims to “make our ...

Read more...

"Health insurance is not health care." That is not original. I borrowed it from Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Director Mitchell Katz's JAMA Internal Medicine editorial about problems with ensuring access to health care for Medicaid recipients whose cheap public insurance usually doesn't even pay doctors enough to recoup costs of care, let alone earn a living. But somehow, during the impassioned political debates that preceded Obamacare, the botched rollout of ...

Read more...

According to a study by Jackson Healthcare, the percentage rate of U.S. physician compensation is among the lowest of western nations.  In 2011, physicians' salaries compromised 8.6 percent of the nation's total health care costs.  This is in comparison to 15 percent in Germany, 11 percent in France, and 11.6 percent in Australia.  Detractors point to the fact that although the percentages speak for themselves, if you look at ...

Read more...

CMS has paid out over $21 billion dollars in incentive payments to providers and hospitals who have successfully attested under the EHR Incentive Program (i.e. meaningful use). With that much money out the door, you can bet that Congress is watching closely to ensure that those dollars are only going to people who really have met the requirements. One way that CMS is monitoring meaningful use is by conducting audits ...

Read more...

It’s here. For the first time in 35 years (or 33, depending on which click bait headline you clicked on), the much anticipated release of data on Medicare payments to physicians, has been released to the public, on the historic date of April 9th, 2014. “Data trove shows U.S. doctors reap millions from Medicare,” according to the distinguished Reuters news service. The Washington Post will tell you “everything you need ...

Read more...

"Do patients care about how much money their doctors make?" This is the headline of a recently published post by Trudy Lieberman, and was written in response to the recent New Your Times' coverage of Medicare disclosing payments to individual providers. Now, I found the Times story fascinating on many levels, but I'll admit it hadn't occurred to me that the main value of this data release is that patients can ...

Read more...

You won’t read about the International Classification of Disease (ICD) on TMZ or hear it discussed on The View, but it has the potential to be an unpleasant October surprise in the healthcare world. It is a list of codes that physicians and hospitals use when billing insurance companies. These codes cover all manner of medical diagnoses for diseases, conditions, and injuries. The first version of ICD appeared in 1946 with ...

Read more...

For 11 years, Congress has failed to reform the Medicare physician payment system, and appears prepared yet again (for the 17th time) to fall back on another one-year patch for the unpopular sustainable growth-rate (SGR) formula to avoid a 24% cut in payments to doctors.  As House minority leader Nancy Pelosi said recently, “Instead of reforming the Medicare physician payment system, Congress seems intent on imposing yet another round of arbitrary provider ...

Read more...

How much Medicare pays doctors requires context The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released a massive amount of information regarding how much money it paid out to individual doctors. For the policy nerds out there, here is the original data.  For everyone else, here is a simple way to look up how much your own doctor made. I decided to search for myself in the database ...

Read more...

From MedPage Today:

  1. ACA Enrollees Sicker Than Average? Offering a first glimpse of the healthcare needs of Americans who bought coverage through federal and state marketplaces, an analysis of the first 2 months of claims data shows the new enrollees are more likely to use expensive specialty drugs to treat conditions like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C than those with job-based insurance.
  2. Endocrinologists React to ...

    Read more...