For the first time in decades, HHS may start telling the public exactly how much money individual doctors earn treating Medicare patients.
Previously, the release of specific Medicare physician-payment data was banned because it was deemed an invasion of physician privacy. But last year, a federal judge in Florida ruled that doctors' privacy concerns did not trump the public interest in disclosing the information, which can be used for detecting trends in healthcare utilization and fraud, among other things.
On Tuesday, HHS announced that it would begin responding to Freedom of Information Act requests for physician-payment data. The agency didn't guarantee every request would be filled, but said government officials would begin using a “balancing test” to determine which information should be released.
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Source: Modern Healthcare