Well worth reading, especially for physicians...Medicare could also have all your information relative to medicare cases up on the web for research soon.  As the article mentions, the data base is far richer than any private insurer could have...BD 

A little-noticed decision last week, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., ruled in favor of a consumer group that sued the Health and Human Services Department to allow disclosure of specific data about doctors from the Medicare claims database. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan concluded that releasing the data would be "a significant public benefit," and ordered the department to turn it over by Sept. 21. With information on more than 40 million patients and 700,000 doctors, the Medicare database is far richer than any private insurer's. Though it does not have information on some doctors, such as pediatricians, who don't treat Medicare patients, it is considered the mother lode for data on those who treat adults, because Medicare recipients are a mainstay of most practices.

"Someone who is thinking they need a knee replacement -- or a prostatectomy -- will be able to go on our website and see how many of these procedures their physician has done for Medicare patients," he added.  An appeal could be politically embarrassing for the administration, because President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt have both campaigned for greater openness and consumer empowerment in healthcare.

He estimated it would take a month or two after receiving the information to post it online.

Ruling may unlock key data on doctors - Los Angeles Times


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