There’s a site available where we can now look up our physicians to see what they’ve been paid by companies for their time at speaking engagements, travel, training, and even research.
Why is this helpful?
It might not be. But it’s a wonderful way to get a snapshot of what companies may be lining the pockets, and possibly influencing the choices, of your doctor. (Yes, that’s the conspiracy theorist in me coming out).
Open Payments Data is run by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has a searchable database where you plug in your physician’s info and it brings up their data for the past few years. Or you can search by company! According to CMS, the site was created “to provide the public with a more transparent healthcare system.”
For example, the image above is a breakdown of the top 10 physicians paid by Abbvie, Inc. in 2017 for speaking at events, consulting fees, grants, royalties, education, travel, food, and lodging.
A further breakdown of payments is available, telling you how much a physician was paid for each category (speaking, food, lodging, etc.). If you have questions about what the payments were for, it’s best to reach out to your physician and ask. The site doesn’t provide specifics; just data.
I’ve already looked up my excision surgeon, my colorectal surgeon, my primary care physician, and a few other surgeons I’ve heard of. It’s been fun! Have at it…and strike up a conversation with your physician if you feel so inclined.
Here’s the 2017 general payments breakdown for my excision surgeon, Dr. Mel Kurtulus:
And here’s the 2017 general payments breakdown for a popular Endometriosis physician down here in San Diego, Dr. Sanjay Agarwal:
Notice the difference? I sure did…
~ Again, I am a layman. I do not hold any college degrees, nor mastery of knowledge. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. If curious, do your own research
Validate my writings. Or challenge them. And ALWAYS feel free to consult with your physician. Always. Yours ~ Lisa