Feds release massive Medicare doctor payment database

The federal government has released a massive trove of Medicare data, making available for the first time information about what payments individual doctors received for specific services covered by Medicare in 2012. The data cover more than 880,000 health care providers and $77 billion in payments from Medicare Part B.

The data can show how much money a particular doctor received by billing Medicare, as well as how many times each doctor billed the program for performing specific procedures or services. It can also show the extent to which federal Medicare spending is concentrated among a relatively small number of health care providers.

A searchable version of the database is available here.

To find all the data in raw form, click here.

But before you do, it’s worth reading this helpful guide from ProPublica health care reporter Charles Ornstein, on how the data can be useful to patients — and how it can be misleading.

To learn more about what went into getting the data released, click here.