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Public disclosure of individual physician payment data has been advocated as a powerful tool to control health care costs and to improve the delivery of care—and criticized as invading clinicians’ privacy. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that it would modify its long-standing policy to routinely deny requests for the disclosure of the amounts that had been paid to individual physicians under the Medicare program.1 Instead, as of March 18, 2014, CMS, as a result of a recent court decision and the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act, “will make case-by-case determinations” that “weigh the balance between the privacy interest of individual physicians and the public interest in disclosure of such information.” The identities of patients will not be revealed.2
Steinbrook R. Public Disclosure of Medicare Payments to Individual Physicians. JAMA. 2014;311(13):1285-1286. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.1033