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CMS to disclose physician's Medicare reimbursement data

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking establishing a new policy that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will follow in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information on Medicare reimbursement amounts paid to individual physicians. Under the new policy, CMS will determine on a case-by-case basis whether exemption 6 of FOIA applies to a specific request for reimbursement data; this exemption prohibits the disclosure of individually identifying information where the public interest in disclosure is outweighed by the subject of the information's privacy interest. In May of 2013, a federal judge vacated a 1979 injunction that had prohibited CMS from ever disclosing individually identifying Medicare physician reimbursement data. This new policy reflects the May 2013 order, and will go into effect on March 11, 2013.

The rulemaking will be available here on January 17, 2013 and is available as a PDF here until then.

CMS has also published a blog post here discussing the new policy.