Dow Jones sues to open Medicare database

February 25, 2011

The publisher of The Wall Street Journal filed court papers in late January to overturn a 21-year-old court injunction that blocks public access to information in the Medicare physician payment payment database.

The publisher of The Wall Street Journal filed court papers in late January to overturn a 31-year-old court injunction that blocks public access to information in the Medicare physician payment database. The filing by Dow Jones & Company, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, seeks to overturn an injunction obtained by the American Medical Association in 1979. The injunction prevents the disclosure of reimbursements for individual doctors from the Medicare program.

Prior to the suit, the Journal had requested the reimbursement data for an article series on Medicare spending, but received only a subset of data once it agreed not to disclose physician identities.