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Comments to HHS on potential release of Medicare physician data

A 1979 injunction barred the release of Medicare physician payment data under the federal Freedom of Information Act on the…

A 1979 injunction barred the release of Medicare physician payment data under the federal Freedom of Information Act on the grounds that disclosing such information would be a violation of doctors' personal privacy rights. In 2012 Dow Jones & Company moved to lift the injunction and a court did so this May. In the wake of that ruling the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a request for comment on whether doctors should have a privacy right in Medicare payment data and, if not, what form and means of disclosure HHS should make the record available. Among other things, RCFP's comments emphasized the importance of proactive disclosure of machine readable, granular data sets to computer assisted reporting techniques and how disclosure in such forms comports with Obama administration policy directives on bulk government data disclosure.