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AMA News Room

Dec. 10, 2015

AMA Disappointed CMS Moving Ahead with Problematic Information on Website for Patients

For immediate release:
Dec. 10, 2015

Statement attributed to:
Steven J. Stack, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

"The AMA is dismayed that CMS is moving forward today with adding incomplete and potentially inaccurate information to its Physician Compare website that will misinform patients.

"Given the widespread accuracy issues with the 2014 PQRS calculations, the newly released information is premature. The data inaccuracies and difficulties with CMS' processes grew over the last couple of months and, while CMS has acknowledged these problems, it has failed to address the underlying issues. Most importantly, consumers visiting the Physician Compare website are likely to get a false impression that it provides accurate quality information for all physicians, when in fact, due to significant data problems, the newly added information covers only about 40,000 physicians. 

"Thousands of other physicians who provide similar services were excluded due to data problems. CMS has attempted to mitigate the situation by explaining that the data may not be comprehensive, and patients should not assume that doctors are deficient in areas where no information is provided. But the location of the disclaimer may not be immediately obvious to patients.

"The AMA also is urging CMS to protect physicians from payment penalties stemming from these data issues. CMS' outreach to physicians regarding problems with performance calculations involving PQRS, Value-based Modifier and Physician Compare has been insufficient. Many physicians do not know that they are facing penalties in 2016 based on 2014 PQRS reporting, nor are they informed about the timeline for contesting CMS calculations. Many doctors will be flagged as failures and be subject to financial penalties as a result of CMS miscalculations or because they missed a poorly communicated appeal deadline. Going forward, the AMA hopes to work with the agency to address these issues. 

"The AMA is a strong supporter of transparency, but today's action goes in the opposite direction – offering the public information that will lead consumers to draw faulty inferences about the quality of care that an individual physician or group provides."  

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Media Contacts:
Jack Deutsch
Media Relations Manager
(202) 789-7442
Email: Jack.Deutsch@ama-assn.org