Medicare Allows Using Data to Rate Doctors
Choosing a specialist for a medical procedure is difficult and time-consuming, but Medicare is trying to make the process easier. The government announced last week that Medicare will allow patients to use its claims database to produce report cards on doctors and hospitals.
Doctors will be identifiable by their Medicare records, but patient information will remain private. An analysis of the billing records could show how many times a doctor has performed a procedure, preventable complications that occurred during the procedure, and other valuable details.
A decades-old court ruling prevented Medicare record from being made public in the past. Insurance companies tried to fill the gap using their own claims data, but their files are nowhere near as comprehensive as Medicare’s.
Medicare acting administrator Marilyn Tavenner called the new policy “a giant step forward in making our healthcare system more transparent and promoting increased competition, accountability, quality and lower costs.”
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