Due to an upcoming policy change initiated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), physician payment information is soon going to become more accessible to both insurance companies and patients.

Many people argue that there are several benefits to releasing this information, including:

  • Collaboration: Providers can work together to decrease costs and improve the quality of care for their patients.
  • Informed Choice: Patients will have greater access to physician payment information, providing for an informed decision on the part of the patient.
  • Competition: Releasing a physician’s payment information can increase competition between providers.
  • Data Collection: Data on unnecessary spending can be easily collected and interpreted in order to improve business practices.

Others argue that this decision on the part of the CMS is an invasion of privacy. Some of their concerns include:

  • Confidentiality: Both physicians and patients alike have a right to confidentiality and this needs to be taken into consideration when disclosing payment data.
  • Misinterpretation: If misinterpreted or released without clarification, this data can cause harm to a practice.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services claim they will continue to treat requests for information as individual cases. These evaluations will be handled under the same regulations as other requests under the Freedom of Information Act.

It isn’t yet known how these changes are going to affect the healthcare system. Until this policy change takes effect, it’s impossible to determine exactly how physicians and patients will be affected and how the payment information will be used.

Author: Lauren Daniels

 

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