Posted by Jean Silver-Isenstadt, MD, PhD, NPA Executive Director April 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM
Washington DC—April 9, 2014
Important new data released today by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reveal stunning facts about Medicare payments, perhaps most notably that a mere 2% of physicians and other individual providers collected nearly 25% of the $77 billion total spent by Medicare in 2012. Already, on the day of their release, these data are doing enormous good by driving attention to the right questions:
- Are American taxpayers getting value for our healthcare dollar?
- Is Medicare’s disproportionate investment in some specialty care providing health outcomes that justify it?
- Are we being defrauded by individual bad actors?
Today’s data alone cannot answer these questions, but the sunshine they provide outlines stark shadows that we all must explore. For too long, payments to physicians have been kept a close secret, enabling financial interests to influence treatment decisions without due accountability.
“Today’s unprecedented transparency is to be celebrated—as is the forthcoming Open Payments website mandated by the Sunshine Act provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” says NPA President Dr. Jim Scott. “We must follow the money through our healthcare system with a sharp diagnostic eye if we are to transform our system into the highest value system in the world. This must be done unflinchingly by physicians and patients alike. Open data is an imperative first step.”