Medicare requests information about physician self-referral law or ‘Stark law’

Medicare  requests information about physician self-referral law or ‘Stark law’

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a request for information on the Stark law, also known as physician self-referral law. The RFI in the Federal Register suggests that the intent is to loosen restrictions on this practice. From the request: “When enacted in 1989, the physician self-referral law (section 1877 of the […]

A doctor’s view on payments: Cherry-picking and lemon-dropping


Guest post summary: “The dirty little secret of current medical payment changes is doctors and hospitals now have a financial incentive to not provide care for some patients, those who put the providers at higher risk of financial penalties. We call this phenomenon cherry-picking and lemon dropping,” writes Mary O’Connor, M.D., Yale School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital, […]

The new Medicare payment data release: 2 experts set the stage

Filed Under: Costs, Regulators


SUMMARY: A big release of data from Medicare, on what doctors got paid what for doing what, is coming in hours. There’s a lot of debate about it — the American Medical Association resisted, and then stopped resisting — and the mystery about what’s in the data has been building for months. For a sneak […]

How much do prescriptions cost? Here’s the Medicare price info for 2014

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Regulators


SUMMARY: Curious about drug pricing? Here’s the link to Medicare drug pricing files for 2014. This is important because prescription prices can vary widely. The price Medicare reimburses is the closest thing in this marketplace to a fixed or benchmark price. Read more on the next page…    

Facility fee change proposed for hospital bills, CPI explains

Filed Under: Costs, Patients, Providers


High emergency-room bill? Blame that mysterious facility fee. Well, now the Government is trying to hold down fees by imposing a flat rate, a change that will apply only to Medicare patients. “Federal officials for more than a decade have let hospitals decide on their own how much to charge Medicare for certain emergency room […]

What Medicare actually paid: Wild variations


Charges are not the same as payments. This morning’s news brought a big helping of Medicare charge information: the release of a dataset of charges to the government’s Medicare program by hospitals across the U.S., as described in this article from The New York Times. What’s charged by hospitals, of course, is seldom what’s paid […]

How much does an MRI cost? 7 U.S. databases that can help

Filed Under: Costs, Health plans, Patients


Price lists for medical treatment are just about our favorite thing over here at ClearHealthCosts. We think people should be able to know what stuff costs in health care, and anything that sheds light on that — however fragmentary or imperfect — is good, as far as we’re concerned. We’ve collected some resources, and are […]