For the first time in more than two decades the public can identify how much physicians earn through Medicaid reimbursements. The release follows a ruling last year in federal court in Florida that overturned a 1979 injunction won by the American Medical Associate that made physician-level data secret.
Rebecca Callis, a rheumatologist in Salem, received $2.7 million in Medicare reimbursements in 2012 – the top individual payee in the state and one of 15 physicians bringing in more than $1 million from Medicare, according to a WW analysis.
Other top earners in Oregon include ophthalmologist Jeffrey Rinkoff of Medford and oncologist Barry Blyton of Springfield, who both brought in $2.2 million in 2012. Ophthalmologists Michael Lee and Mark Peters, were Portland's top earners, each receiving nearly $1.3 million in Medicare payments.
Here's how one rheumatologist explained his high revenue to the Washington Post:
Gerald Ho, 50,
a rheumatologist who runs three offices in the Los Angeles area, said he had
been âsort of dreadingâ the release of the Medicare payment data. Ho received
nearly $5.4 million in reimbursements in 2012. Of that, he said, probably about
$5 million covered the cost of genetically-engineered drugs to treat patients
with rheumatoid arthritis. He also has to pay a staff of 40.
going to see these numbers and people arenât going to understand,â he said. âI
am not pocketing $5.3 million. To tell you the truth, I know thereâs been lot
of Medicare fraud, and I understand the government wants to provide a measure
of transparency. But when they throw out numbers like this without any context,
itâs going to be misconstrued by the public.â
The New York Times built this simple search tool for anyone interested in look up doctors by name, specialty or location.