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CMS Under the Gun to Launch Physician Compare Site

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, October 28, 2010

What about the average lengths of hospital stay for patients of a certain physician, adjusted by disease or condition? Or the rates of readmission among patients in their care?

Will a physicians' charges be part of what's viewed? Or whether they ever make housecalls? Do they enroll patients in clinical trials, accept money from pharmaceutical companies, or spend a good portion of their day in the classroom?

Can the patients talk with them by e-mail? Do they have an electronic medical record system in their practice? Who covers for them when they go on vacation?

How many patients must a physician care for in order to qualify for inclusion, so the data has enough power to be right, and over how many months or years?

Should quality and patients satisfaction measures be included for non-Medicare/Medicaid patients, the privately insured or self-pay patients the doctor may treat? And should those scores be shown separately, so patients can see if the doctor treats all patients the same?

Should the website show how often the doctor updates his continuing medical education, and in which specialties he's overdue?

The American Medical Association has some very big concerns about how this all plays out, especially when talking about evaluating doctors' care provided in a hospital setting. "We want to have reliable information that a patient can use if they are trying to select a physician or facility to get elective care," AMA president James Rohack MD, told me in an interview Tuesday.

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