Behind the Numbers

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See Medicare’s payments to over one million medical providers from 2012 to 2015, and how doctors and other providers compare with peers in their state and nationwide.


Explore the Data

Search doctors and other providers who received Medicare payments.

Physician or Provider

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Our Investigations

Aug. 9, 2016
Some of the fastest-growing Medicare costs stem from doctors using new medical devices, the latest data show
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Feb. 18, 2016
More dementia patients and others who die slowly are receiving care, causing costs to rise
Dec. 25, 2015
Financial incentives are leading small facilities to perform more surgeries
Dec. 1, 2015
Return-visit rate drops, but change in billing tactics skews numbers
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Oct. 30, 2015
Federal program reduces work of auditors that seek to recoup money for the government
Oct. 19, 2015
Owners plan to turn company over to lenders as part of a restructuring
Aug. 16, 2015
Medicare pays top dollar for patients in heavy rehab; the pivotal 720-minute mark
July 21, 2015
Thousands of doctors who bill Medicare used questionable addresses, GAO report finds
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June 14, 2015
Nation’s largest drug-testing lab, Millennium Health, aims to end allegations that it billed the government for unnecessary tests
June 3, 2015
Methodology change accounts for a further $12.4 billion in medical-provider payments for 2012.
June 1, 2015
Browns Multicoloured Joe skirt woodland hitched Top 1% of billers of the federal insurance program in 2013 reaped 17.5% of all payments that year.
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Soaring hospital bills for the sickest Medicare patients can throw the government’s payment formula out of whack.
April 15, 2015
A Florida eye doctor facing corruption charges with New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez was indicted for health-care fraud. He had gained attention as Medicare’s top biller.
March 23, 2015
A laboratory that has collected large sums from Medicare has reached a tentative agreement with the Justice Department to pay nearly $50 million to settle a civil investigation into whether payments it made to doctors amounted to kickbacks, according to people familiar with the matter.
March 15, 2015
The congressional Medicare Payment Advisory Commission called for changes to discourage long-term hospitals from timing patients’ discharges to financial incentives.
Feb. 17, 2015
Many long-term-care hospitals discharge a disproportionate share of Medicare patients during the few days when hospitals stand to make the most, an analysis of claims found.
Feb. 1, 2015
The move cements public access to how tens of billions of dollars are spent annually on everything from doctor’s office visits to radiation therapy.
Dec. 25, 2014
Officials at the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services are looking for ways to reduce fraud and abuse without restricting access to medical care.
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Dec. 11, 2014
Political pressure from medical providers and elected officials can collide with efforts to rein in waste and abuse in the taxpayer-funded Medicare system and delay investigations into specific providers' billing patterns.
Nov. 10, 2014
Medicare spent $445 million on high-tech drug tests that cover pain pills as well as PCP and cocaine in 2012, up 1,423% in five years. Some doctors who do the procedure say it is medical necessary and catch substance abusers cheaper screenings may miss.
Sept. 8, 2014
A fast-growing Virginia laboratory received $11.9 million in Medicare payments-far more than other labs—for a blood test meant to help predict heart disease and offered doctors financial arrangements that regulators have scrutinized.
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Oct. 22, 2014
Some medical practices group providers from different specialties, such as pathologists and urologists, under the same roof and capture revenues generated when doctors in the group refer patients to their colleagues for lab tests or other services.
Aug. 14, 2014
The tale behind a doctors’ arrest shows how federal agencies often churn through Medicare claims data to identify billing patterns and build cases before seeking to recover money the government has already paid out—an often difficult proposition.
June 19, 2014
Many cancer doctors limited use of a drug for anemia after medical data showed it might cause tumors to grow. Billing data shows some doctors continue to use the drug, which can be lucrative for medical practices, far more frequently.
June 9, 2014
More than 2,300 medical providers received more than $500,000 in 2012 Medicare payments for performing a single service. In some cases, those doctors focused on treatments that are rarely performed by members of their specialties.
April 9, 2014
The doctor who was paid the most by Medicare in 2012 is a high-profile south Florida ophthalmologist who has been fighting with the federal government for years over allegations of overbilling. His lawyer says he “billed in conformity” with federal rules.
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April 9, 2014
Medicare’s highest paid doctors include two Michigan doctors: An oncologist who received $10 million in 2012 payments and has been indicted for fraud, and a family medicine doctor who works with the federal agency to divvy out special payments to other doctors though that money is counted under her personal billing number.
April 9, 2014
The top 1% of U.S. medical providers by Medicare payments accounted for about 14% of the program’s total payments to health professionals. Among the top recipients: Doctors in high-cost specialties like oncology, radiation oncology and ophthalmology.


About this Project

This project uses data made public by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. It shows the dollar amounts that doctors and other medical providers received in Medicare reimbursements by calendar year, along with other data including their specialties. Only procedures which providers performed on more than 10 Medicare patients were included in the data released. There is some information CMS hasn’t provided. The data doesn’t include information on patients nor does it show doctors’ billings related to durable medical equipment.

The Wall Street Journal won a Pulitzer Prize in 2015 for its Medicare coverage. Women's Shift Dress Black Front Trims Jumper Sleeveless Accent Pockets rAqwrZ5 was part of the winning submission

Interactive by Martin Burch, Chris Canipe, Madeline Farbman, Jon Keegan, Palani Kumanan, Renee Lightner and Stuart Thompson/The Wall Street Journal

Note: Stories and graphics published prior to June 2015 relied on an earlier version of Medicare’s billing data that suppressed records of some payments to medical providers for services they rendered to small numbers of patients. For this reason, the total payment figures for 2012 shown here may differ from total payments shown in earlier stories about this provider and in the original release of this interactive. Related story »

Sources: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Medical-procedure descriptions and codes are from the Current Procedural Terminology code set, which is copyrighted by the American Medical Association.

About the data: The data is the most complete public accounting of physician-specific Medicare billing now available. But, it has limitations and the available data may not present the full picture of a specific physician’s practice.

Medicare payments do not represent the full revenues of a physician’s practice. Physicians also bill private insurers and other payers.

Codes are assigned to each procedure, service or product Medicare covers. Each code has its own payment rate. Places of service are categorized with either an ‘F’ for health-care facilities, such as hospitals, or with an ‘O’ for offices, such as doctor’s practices.

Many similar services are represented by separate procedure codes in Medicare’s billing system, which may make it difficult to compare utilization of specific services between physicians.

In some cases, procedures attributed to a specific physician may have been performed by other people under that doctor’s supervision.

The Medicare data does not include information about the patients treated. Doctors treating complex cases may receive higher payments as their patients require more services.

The data does not include any procedures performed on patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which are run by private insurers and financed by the federal government.

Physicians in various parts of the country receive different payments for the same services; doctors in areas where the cost of living, running practices or malpractice insurance is higher may receive higher payments.

Specialists who focus on procedures with relatively high overhead, such as in-office imaging equipment, may receive higher payments than doctors with lower overhead for some services.

Some physicians bill some services under their personal provider number and others under the provider number of an organization, such as an employer. In those cases, doctors payments received by the organization are not included in personal totals.

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