Statement from ASH President Linda J. Burns, MD, on Release of Medicare Physician Payment Data
Published on: April 09, 2014
(WASHINGTON, April 9, 2014) – Last night the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services released a large and complex set of data about the
number and type of health-care services that individual physicians and certain
other health-care professionals delivered in 2012, and the amount Medicare paid
them for those services. The data, which cover $77 billion of Medicare Part B Fee-for-Service
program payments to 880,000 providers, are intended to allow the public to
identify outliers and patterns in payment.
The American Society of Hematology (ASH), the world's
largest professional society concerned with the causes and treatment of blood
disorders, is committed to improving the quality of care delivered to patients
with hematologic diseases and eliminating waste and overuse in the field.
While ASH supports greater transparency about Medicare
physician payment and its potential to enhance the quality of the U.S.
health-care system, the Society strongly believes that this incredibly complex data
must be released with appropriate disclosures and explanatory statements that
will encourage and facilitate value-based consumer decision making. Specifically,
the numbers alone will not explain quality of care or account for specific
drivers of cost such as specialty, location, supply costs, and support staff.
The release of data without placing these aspects of care and others into
context may result in inaccurate and misleading information for consumers.
Greater transparency of Medicare provider payment has the
potential to improve the quality of care nationwide for patients with hematologic
diseases; however, data must be presented in the proper context to be valuable
to the overall improvement of the U.S. health-care system.
The American Society of Hematology (ASH) (www.hematology.org) is the
world’s largest professional society of hematologists dedicated to furthering
the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disorders affecting
the blood. For more than 50 years, the Society has led the development of
hematology as a discipline by promoting research, patient care, education,
training, and advocacy in hematology. The official journal of ASH is Blood (www.bloodjournal.org), the most cited peer-reviewed publication in the field, which is
available weekly in print and online.
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