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Behind the curtain, physician Medicare payments revealed

Federal health officials on Wednesday pulled back the curtain on payments made to physicians and other health care providers who treat Medicare patients, revealing for the first time once closely-held information such as the prices that individual doctors charge for their services and how much the government reimburses them.  Red_Curtain___Stock_by_GothicBohemianStock

The data shines a light on the federal health program for seniors and the disabled, which paid more than $77 billion to about 880,000 doctors and other health care providers in 2012, allowing researchers and consumers to see how often physicians performed certain procedures, how many Medicare patients they treated, and other information.

The Medicare data, which contains more than 9 million records, will eventually help patients — even those who do not receive Medicare — find the best value for their money and become more sophisticated healthcare consumers, said Jonathan Blum, deputy principal administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the federal agency that runs the health program.

Blum characterized the data dump as “a huge step towards making the Medicare program and the broader healthcare delivery system much more transparent.’’Read more. 

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