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Medicare Pay 'Transparency' Divides Physicians

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, September 5, 2013

James C. Salwitz, MD, from New Brunswick, NJ, who is concerned about the transparency question impact, tells me bluntly: "Physicians are going to have a heart attack, they are going to run from this.  You are already seeing physicians pulling out from insurance, and they have reimbursement issues, and overwhelming hassles. The first time a physician sees a patient with a printout of how much the doc made, it will be the last Medicare patient he will ever see."

The transparency issue is explosive in the physician community as some groups, including health organizations and journalists, hunger for more data about payments made to physicians. CMS concedes it is asked plenty of questions about physician payment and reimbursement data, for "research, assessment, and evaluation of programs."

Many doctors believe transparency is important, arguing that the public has a right to know how their tax dollars are being spent, according to ACPE's poll of physicians. And some doctors believe that demand from consumers will intensify. It doesn't make sense to fight it, or give in to suspicions that they may have something to hide, these doctors say.  

"We live in an information age," Daniel McDevitt, MD, FACS, from Atlanta, GA, wrote to ACPE. "We should be able to look up online where our money is going at all times."

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