Sunday, September 02, 2007

What about physician privacy?

From the recent press release:
Consumers’ CHECKBOOK/Center for the Study of Services, a nonprofit consumer research and information organization, has won a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that will require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to release data on every physician claim paid by Medicare. The data to be released will identify physicians but will not make possible identification of patients.

“Consumers, physicians, and the Medicare program itself will benefit greatly when these data are used in measures of physician experience, quality, and efficiency,” said Robert Krughoff, president of CHECKBOOK/CSS.

As a first use of the data, the consumer organization will create a resource, free to the public, on its website, that will report the number of various types of major procedures performed by each physician and reimbursed by Medicare, “so a consumer selecting a physician for a knee replacement or prostate surgery or other major procedure will be able easily to check that a physician has an appropriate level of experience,” said Krughoff.
Might this not result in physicians "cherry picking" their Medicare cases so that they will build good stats?? Click here to access the full press release.

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