The Physician Payments Sunshine Act: data evaluation regarding payments to ophthalmologists.

PubMed ID: 25578254

Author(s): Chang JS. The Physician Payments Sunshine Act: data evaluation regarding payments to ophthalmologists. Ophthalmology. 2015 Apr;122(4):656-61. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2014.11.003. Epub 2015 Jan 9. Erratum in: Ophthalmology. 2015 Aug;122(8):1733. PMID 25578254

Journal: Ophthalmology, Volume 122, Issue 4, Apr 2015

PURPOSE To review data for ophthalmologists published online from the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

DESIGN Retrospective data review using data acquired from a publicly available electronic database.

METHODS A database was downloaded from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website under Identified General Payments to Physicians and a primary specialty of ophthalmology. Basic statistical analysis was performed including mean, median, and range of payments for both single payments and per provider.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES Data summary by category of payment and geographic region and comparison with other surgical subspecialties.

RESULTS From August 1, 2013, through December 31, 2013, a total of 55 996 individual payments were reported to 9855 ophthalmologists for a total of $10 926 447. The mean amount received in a single payment was $195.13 (range, $0.04-$193 073). The mean amount received per physician identifier (ID) was $1108 (range, $1-$397 849), and the median amount was $112.01. Consulting fees made up the largest percentage of fees. There was not a large difference in payments received by region. The mean payments for the subspecialties of dermatology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, and urology ranged from $954 to $6980, and median payments in each field by physician ID ranged from $88 to $173.

CONCLUSIONS A large amount of data were released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. In ophthalmology, mean and median payments per physician did not vary greatly from other surgical subspecialties. Most single payments were less than $100, and most physicians received less than $500 in total payments. Payments for consulting made up the largest category of spending. How this affects patient perception, patient care, and medical costs warrants further study.

Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.