Medicare to Release Billing Data for 880K Doctors

WASHINGTON (AP) -

Medicare says it’s preparing to release billing data for more than 880,000 doctors, giving consumers an unprecedented look into how personal physicians stack up compared to others.

Medicare deputy administrator Jonathan Blum said in an online post that the data could be available as early as April 9.

The files contain data on every test and procedure billed for in 2012 by individual doctors in all 50 states, who together received $77 billion that year through Medicare’s Part B coverage for outpatient services.

Although individual patient information will remain off limits, the files will identify physicians by name.

Consumer groups, insurers and employers have long sought access to the Medicare data to help track quality. The American Medical Association says it’s an invasion of doctors’ privacy.