The Associated Press performed an analysis of the physician payment database from Medicare that the Obama administration made available to the public early Wednesday. The results were staggering, with some doctors earning multiple millions of dollars from Medicare each year. Topping the list was Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist in Florida, who received $20.8 million from Medicare, according to the AP analysis. Melgen, who is also accused of fraud, is among a select few who received multimillion-dollar payments. Only 344 of the 825,000 individual physicians in the Medicare claim data base were paid at least $3 million each, the AP found. The median payment the point at which half the amounts are higher and half are lower was $30,265.
The data was released over physician opposition. According to groups opposing the release, revealing Medicare payouts in a vacuum is unfair to doctors and gives patients incomplete information. The American Medical Association (AMA) argued in a statement Wednesday that the data dump without context will “lead to inaccuracies, misinterpretations, false conclusions and other unintended consequences.” This could lead to patients making decisions about their care based on faulty assumptions about their physicians.
Read more from ABC News.