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. âPeople are 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
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