Some doctors pay millions through Medicare

April 10, 2014 — The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data for the first time today detailing approximately $77 billion paid to more than 880,000 healthcare professionals under Medicare Part B fees USD Data-For-Service Program.

“We took a big step today to make the Medicare program more transparent to the public and researchers,” CMS Principal Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum said in a phone news conference. “This information has been out for too long. Medicare is funded with taxpayer money and the public has a right to know this information. This data release can help reduce fraud and waste in the system.

“We want the public, the media and researchers to mine the data to help us identify outliers and identify spending that doesn’t make sense or that looks wasteful or fraudulent,” he said.

Nearly 4,000 physicians were reported in 2012 by Medicare to every paid more than $1 million to 344 physicians, compared to an average of $77,000 per physician that year.

Medicare paid 344 physicians $3 million or more, according to An analysis of the database found that an ophthalmologist in Florida was paid $21 million in 2012. Cancer doctors who specialize in blood tests and radiation therapy each paid an average of more than $360,000 per year.

In 300 151 ophthalmologists pay close to $658 million in Medicare, according to an analysis by Associated P News.

Ophthalmology and cancer physicians earn the most , because both professions use very expensive medication as part of their practice, Blum said.

Florida-based ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, who worked with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) ) relationship made headlines last year after it was revealed that Menendez was paid $20.8 million for a vacation trip using the doctor’s private jet.

About a quarter of the top-paid Physicians practice in Florida. The top five states are California, with 38 physicians; cheap wholesale jerseys, with 27; Texas, with 23; Years of data, and plans to release updated hospital data within 8 weeks.

“It is widely believed that some parts of the country charge significantly more for services,” he said. “We’re seeing more diverse patterns than that. That’s not to say it’s always as simple as Florida spending more and Washington spending less. We found that every state has a lot of high spending that is either justified or wasteful. “

Blum said the public should exercise caution when interpreting the data and not “draw hastily” to determine the cause of the high incidence.

AMA Response

The American Medical Association (AMA) has long opposed the release of Medicare databases, saying the documents may contain inaccurate information and may mislead the public.

“We believe that the extensive data dump… …the accuracy and value of medical care provided by physicians,” said AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD. “Publishing data without context can lead to inaccuracies, misunderstandings, erroneous conclusions and other unintended consequences.

AMA and other leading medical groups had asked the government to allow individual doctors to review their information before it was released. The group warned that the data could contain errors and did not include clear information about the quality of care.

“Medicare and other payers pay a fixed price for services based on a fee schedule; so the AMA states that the amount paid to physicians is often much less than what is charged and cannot be Accurately describe the payment.

The federal government proposed a similar program in the 1970s to disclose data about individual doctors, but a federal judge said it violated privacy laws and issued a permanent injunction. In May 2013, another federal judge struck down the injunction over objections from the AMA and other medical groups.