Saturday’s WSJ had a short article on pg A3, which I have yet to find reported anywhere else. Below are the first couple of paragraphs pulled from WSJ.com (you need to be an on-line subscriber to get all of it).
WASHINGTON — A consumer group won a court case that would require the Bush administration to release physician-claims data in four states and the District of Columbia. The decision could help the public evaluate Medicare and physician performance.
The Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the program, had argued that releasing the data would violate the physicians’ privacy. But the federal court in the District of Columbia ruled the public interest outweighs the privacy concern.
This ruling, if it stands (both AMA and HHS are considering an appeal), will have an enormous impact providing more fuel to the P4P movement. If nothing else, it will raise the veil and drive greater transparency, for good or bad, but let us hope for good. There is also a strong likelihood that this ruling will encourage greater adoption of HIT (e.g., EMR software) as physicians will need to provide better documentation of their services.