In a decision that proved crucial in the lifting of the 1979 injunction, Howard ruled that applicable federal law had changed significantly over the past three decades.
In the April 2 letter, Blum said CMS had considered physician privacy when deciding whether to fight release of the Medicare data. "The Department weighed the privacy interests of physicians and the public's interest in shedding light on Government activities and operations and has determined that the public's interest outweighs the privacy interests," Blum wrote.
'The Right Thing to Do'
Jennifer Schneider MD, vice president of analytics at San Francisco-based Castlight Health, says there is a simple and compelling reason to release the Medicare physician data. "It's the right thing to do," she said in a phone interview Tuesday.
Castlight specializes in selling healthcare information services to self-insured employers to help businesses provide affordable health insurance options to their workers. The firm was founded in 2008 "to tackle one of healthcare's fundamental problems—the lack of transparency in the price and quality of health care," according to the company's web site.