What the Medicare database means to you

KSDK - It's a day the American Medical Association hoped would never come.

But consumer groups, insurers and employers fought a long time to get a hold of Medicare's database.

And now, after years of legal battles, we have it.

Just a few hours ago, the federal government put it all on-line.

It's a look at not just the medical services individual doctors provided under Medicare in 2012, but how much they were paid for those services.

It's information the public hasn't been able to see since the 1970s.

Mary Jo Condon, the senior director of the St. Louis Area Business Health Coalition, a non-profit organization that represents 52 leading St. Louis are employers, joined us on First at Four to talk about what this means for consumers.

Click on the video player to see her interview.

We also looked at data for the state of Missouri. The average doctor in Missouri got almost $78 thousand dollars in 2012. That's just from Medicare reimbursements.

A tiny group of doctors nationally got $3 million or more.

One Florida ophthalmologist got nearly $21 million.

We also looked at who's at the top of the list for reimbursements in St. Louis.

Here are the top three:

Ambulance service provider Abbott Ambulance Inc., $7.2 million

Ambulance service provider Lifenet, Inc.,: $6.4 million.

Mercy Hospital oncologist Dr. Hsaio Hu: $5.6 million.

We contacted Mercy Hospitals, and they told us Dr. Hu joined them on March 3, 2014.

There are many reasons why doctors or companies might get large Medicare payments.

We're hearing a lot of caution from the government against drawing quick conclusions.

But one of reasons the government wants this released is be more transparent.

Look for the links to the USA Today and Wall Street Journal

WALL STREET JOURNAL LINK: http://on.wsj.com/1hB7vCw

USA TODAY LINK: http://usat.ly/1eah2FS


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