KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Disparity In Medicare Provider Payments In Oregon, Data Show

Information gleaned from the federal government's Medicare data dump shows that Oregon providers and provider groups were paid $508 million in 2012. However, some providers made more than others. Meanwhile the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is reporting that arising from the data, Wisconsin Congressional members want physicians rated on quality of care. 

The Oregonian: Oregon Medicare Data Shows Disparity In Provider Payments
Medicare paid $508 million to Oregon providers and provider groups in 2012. But some providers made much more than others. New information released by the federal government shows 15 Oregon providers made more than $1 million from the government health care program set up for people 65 or older. But the typical provider made far less, with the median reimbursement coming in at $18,890. The data is broken down by provider, city, and procedure, letting consumers and researchers slice the information in different ways. The data release is the latest example of a larger transparency trend, meaning consumers have more access to health care spending data than ever, said John McConnell, a health economist who heads the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness at Oregon Health & Science University (Budnick, 4/14).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin Congressional Members Want Physicians Rated On Quality Of Care
The government's unprecedented release of information about Medicare payments to doctors last week drew national attention, particularly spotlighting individual physicians who collected millions of dollars for treating Medicare patients in 2012. One Milwaukee eye doctor received more than $8.6 million in Medicare payments, by far the most received by an individual doctor in Wisconsin that year. A Florida doctor topped them all, receiving $20.8 million. But the information, which disclosed the total amounts of Medicare payments made to more than 880,000 physicians and other health care providers, did not include the detail needed to determine what really matters: Which doctors provide high-quality care in the most cost-effective way? (Boulton, 4/14). 

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