Federal officials released data Wednesday showing what Medicare paid in 2012 to more than 880,000 doctors and other health care providers nationwide.
In Thursday’s paper the Honolulu Star-Advertiser ran a list of 20 Hawaii doctors and other health care providers and how much they had received from Medicare in 2012. The intent was for that list to show the top 20 providers in terms of Medicare payments, but the list was based on incomplete information. As a result, most of the providers listed Thursday were not among the top 20.
The list running with this story shows the top 20 in terms of Medicare payments of the 2,979 Hawaii health care providers included in a searchable database available at staradvertiser.com at bit.ly/1n1K25C.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Medicare information after being sued by The Wall Street Journal.
Medicare, the federal health care system for the aged, spends more than $500 billion a year. Medicare paid Hawaii health care providers $132.2 million in 2012, according to the Associated Press.
The American Medical Association fought the release of the information, saying "releasing the data without context will likely lead to inaccuracies, misinterpretations, false conclusions and other unintended consequences." AMA said such information could "mislead the public into making inappropriate and potentially harmful treatment decisions."
Dr. John L. Lederer, a Honolulu radiation oncologist who is listed as receiving $764,649.51 in 2012, said the number greatly overstates what he actually got from Medicare because it includes what hospitals charged for the use of their facilities.
"The numbers don’t reflect what the doctors got paid," Lederer said. "The facilities make way more than the physicians."
If he does a chest X-ray at Queen’s Medical Center, for example, he would get about $700, and the hospital would get several thousand dollars, Lederer said. The total is billed and collected under Lederer’s name, but he gets less than a third of it, he said.