Feds Release Massive Amount of Data on Medicare - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Feds Release Massive Amount of Data on Medicare

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DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - The federal government Wednesday released 2012 Medicare reimbursement data for almost 900,000 doctors across the country. It's the first time this information has been made public in three decades.

An Associated Press analysis showed fewer than 350 doctors account for about $1.5 billion of the reimbursements. Medicare paid each of them at least $3 million a piece. The highest amount went to a Florida ophthalmologist $21 million.

Using a tool from the New York Times' website that broke the data down by zip code, WBOC determined none of the approximately 350 doctors who got more than $3 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2012 are in central or southern Delaware.

But the area does have local doctors bringing in a lot of money. In Sussex County an internal medicine physician netted $2.1 million in 2012 and a dermatologist at $1.2 million.

In Kent County two rheumatologists and a nephrologist all took in more than $1 million.

The consistent theme in the data is that specialists bring in the most medicare money. Thirty-eight lower Delaware doctors were reimbursed more than $400,000 dollars in 2012 including 13 cardiologists, eight ophthalmologists and four rheumatologists.

Rep. Michael Barbieri, D-Newark, who chairs the state House Health and Human Development Committee chair, says the numbers have to be kept in context.

"There are specialists," he said. "There may be an office able to process a number of people, because of other support staff they have. I think what this should do - if we're smart about it - is give an opportunity to review."

Wayne Smith, president of the Delaware Healthcare Association, points out while this info is new to the public, it's not to medicare regulators.

"I don't think there will be any kind of increased regulatory or increased scrutiny by the people who are charged with making sure these payments are correct, " Smith said. "They've always had access to this data."
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