Filed Under:Health Insurance, Individual Health

Data release puts big Medicare billers in spotlight

CMS Director Jonathan Blum (AP photo/HHS)
CMS Director Jonathan Blum (AP photo/HHS)

(Bloomberg) -- Medicare paid about 4,000 medical professionals more than $1 million apiece in 2012, according to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Medicare program paid seven providers more than $10 million in 2012, the program paid one Florida ophthalmologist $21 million.

The data release has been lauded by consumer groups seeking to spotlight possible fraud or overuse and criticized by physicians, including the American Medical Association, whose head has said misinterpretation could ruin doctors’ careers.

Medicare payments to doctors were kept from the public after medical associations argued in the early 1980s that their release would violate physicians’ privacy. Last May, a federal judge lifted a 33-year-old injunction on the data following a lawsuit by Dow Jones & Co.

Copyright 2016 Bloomberg. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Nichole Morford

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