Date

Press release

NATIONAL PARTICIPATING PHYSICIAN DIRECTORY NOW OFFERS MORE INFORMATION ON CMS WEB SITE

NATIONAL PARTICIPATING PHYSICIAN DIRECTORY NOW OFFERS MORE INFORMATION ON CMS WEB SITE

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has made more information available at www.medicare.gov about the medical background of thousands of physicians currently participating in the Medicare program.

Medicare's National Participating Physician Directory has now added several features including information about physicians such as their medical school and year of graduation, any board certification in a medical specialty, gender, and hospitals at which the physician has admitting privileges. The directory, which will be updated monthly, also includes the participating physician's office phone number and any foreign language capabilities. In the future, the directory will contain information on whether a physician is accepting new Medicare patients.

"Medicare beneficiaries, and their families and caregivers, need to have more information about the physicians who treat them," CMS Administrator Tom Scully said. "The upgraded directory on the Medicare.gov Web site will offer valuable information to beneficiaries enrolled in the original fee-for-service Medicare or in one of the Medicare preferred provider organization (PPO) plans."

Based on data from the first enrollment period ending Feb. 28, 2003, 90.1 percent of U.S. physicians who bill Medicare are enrolled in the program as a participating physician. That compares with 87.7 percent of physicians in all of 2002. For physicians and non-physician practitioners combined, enrollment as a Medicare participant was 91.5 percent at the end of the first enrollment period in 2003, compared with 89.7 percent in 2002.

Until now, the directory has contained only the names, addresses and medical specialties of the physicians who have agreed to accept assignment, which is the Medicare-approved amount as payment in full for all medical services. Assignment applies only to

beneficiaries who are the original fee-for-service Medicare. It does not apply if a beneficiary is in a Medicare managed care plan or private fee-for-service plan. The directory also includes a mapping feature to help guide a new patient to the physician's office location.

Further information about the directory is available on the CMS Web site at http://www.medicare.gov/Physician/Home.asp.