KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tavenner, Other CMS Officials Defend Medicare Payment Data Release

Elsewhere, the Health and Human Services inspector general says Medicare overpaid $6.7 billion for office visits in 2010.

Modern Healthcare: CMS Officials Defend Releasing Physician Payment Data 
Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, along with two other top officials within the CMS, are publicly defending last month's release of Medicare physician payment data, saying the move is part of a broader strategy of government transparency that will include more health data dumps in the future. Tavenner, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Conway and Niall Brennan, acting director of CMS' Offices of Enterprise Management, co-authored an article in the New England Journal of Medicine made public Wednesday. It appears to be the agency's first public response to critics since its April 9 publishing of data on Medicare Part B payments of $77 billion to 880,000 providers (Herman, 5/28).

ProPublica: Medicare Overpays Billions For Office Visits, Patent Evaluations 
Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much for office visits and other patient evaluations in 2010, according to a new report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But in its reply to the findings, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs Medicare, said it doesn't plan to review the billings of doctors who almost always charge for the most-expensive visits because it isn't cost effective to do so (Ornstein, 5/29).

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