Bah, Humbug: 4 Coals in Your Stocking in 2014

Leigh Page

Disclosures

January 02, 2014

In This Article

More Scrutiny From Many Sources

3. Physician Evaluations to Be Posted on CMS Website

CMS plans to post PQRS data on Physician Compare,[7] the Website that provides information on each Medicare-participating physician. In early 2014, the site will add 2012 PQRS data for group practices and Accountable Care Organizations and plans to follow up later with individual physicians. CMS has agreed to a 30-day preview period for physicians to view their information before it is posted.

Whereas many physicians, including Dr. Sobel, are unhappy with the prospect of posting PQRS data on Physician Compare for all the world to see, Dr. Bagley said it would be an improvement over what is there now. "Right now, the Website simply indicates whether the physician is participating in PQRS or not," he said. "That is not a good differentiator for the public to use."

Dr. Bagley argued that the CMS Website is part of an unstoppable trend toward patient-centered care. "We're entering an era of transparency," he said. "We're not going to be able to avoid having this kind of information out there."

Physician Compare is thought to be more accurate than commercial Websites evaluating physicians, because they can be skewed by patients on a vendetta against a particular physician. However, Physician Compare still has a long way to go before it can be seen as an unimpeachable reference source about physicians.

CMS redesigned Physician Compare in June, introducing enhanced search functions and information inputs designed to improve accuracy. But in a July letter to CMS,[8] the American Medical Association (AMA) reported a long list of mistakes on the Website. For example, neurosurgery was confused with neurology, and there were errors in physician biographies, such as nonexistent hospital affiliations, ability to speak Spanish, and not participating in the meaningful use program.

Because of these continuing mistakes, the AMA advises physicians to look up their entries on Physician Compare, check whether there are any mistakes, and immediately contact CMS about a correction. The AMA noted that mistakes have taken up to 6 months to be corrected.

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