Dow Jones Sues to Open Physician Payment Database, Look for Fraud

Dow Jones, the publisher of the Wall Street Journal, has sued to gain access to confidential Medicare billing data showing how much each physician is paid, according to a report by the Journal.

Access to the data would expose Medicare fraud and help evaluate the quality and cost of healthcare, Dow Jones said. The suit was filed after the Journal ran a series on provider abuses of the Medicare system, based on a study of computerized Medicare records.

The newspaper said it was hampered from obtaining all the information it needed for the series by an injunction obtained by the AMA in 1979. The injunction, barring the government from revealing how much Medicare pays individual physicians, has withstood at least two attempts to reverse it.

"It's time to overturn an injunction that, for decades, has allowed some doctors to defraud Medicare free from public scrutiny," Dow Jones' general counsel said in a statement.

Read the Wall Street Journal report on Medicare fraud.

Read more coverage of healthcare fraud:

- 5 Recent Settlements and Investigations Involving Hospitals

- Justice Department Accuses Mayo Clinic of Falsely Billing Medicare

- New York Physician Indicted on 28 Counts of Healthcare Fraud

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