This is the Medicare data base with more than 40 million patients and 700,000 doctors....Health and Human Services Department endorsed the consumer group wanting the information to be more transparent...this is the motherlode of all data bases and the consumer group is arguing for additional physician information to be available, i.e. the number of procedures performed, etc. so this would have definite effect on how a physician is ranked and viewed....now it appears it is up to the courts...BD
WASHINGTON -- Although President Bush has repeatedly called for helping consumers make better decisions about healthcare, his administration is appealing a groundbreaking court ruling that would permit disclosure of Medicare billing records so patients could compare doctors' expertise and efficiency. Release of such information is advocated by consumer groups, employers and the health insurance industry, but is opposed by organizations representing doctors. Consumer and business groups said they were disappointed by the administration's appeal. The American Medical Assn. has petitioned to join it.