NH doctors: There's more to Medicare list than meets the eye
A doctor may be on the list because he actively accepts Medicare patients, while other physicians refuse Medicare and Medicaid because of low payments, said Dr. David Goldberg, a Manchester cardiologist. Or the physician may be popular.
He said the list puts the data in isolation and allows for no interpretation.
"These numbers definitely begin to make consumers think about utilization of procedures in the Medicare program," said Ariel Gonzalez, a spokesman for the AARP. He said the AARP wants the CMS to make the data easier to understand. The organization favors the release of more information, such as how often a provider uses certain procedures and expensive medications.
The top physician was Dr. Richard Chace, the founder of Eyesight Ophthalmic Services in Portsmouth. Chace's $1.89 million came from 11,918 separate Medicare services he billed during the year. Three other physicians in the practice also landed in the top 100 list.
Ophthalmologists comprise more than one-third of the top 100 on the list. The American Academy of Ophthalmology said eye doctors treat a lot of Medicare patients because older people suffer from diseases of the eyes.
The data released last week entails only payments for Medicare Part B, which pays for services provided outside a hospital setting and that require a patient co-pay. Medicare Part B payments to New Hampshire providers exceeded $276 million for 2012, according to the data.
"We're the largest ambulance transport company in the state. We would expect to be at the top," Doherty said.
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