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Court Rejects Disclosure |of HHS Medicare Data

(CN) - The D.C. Circuit rejected a consumer watchdog group's bid to obtain Medicare data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, saying the records request would be ineffective and was too far-reaching.

Consumer's Checkbook Center for the Study of Services filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the agency, seeking all HHS records for 2004 in Illinois, Missouri, Virginia, Washington and the District of Columbia.

The district court found for Checkbook on the basis that the records do not fall under a FOIA exemption.

Judge Henderson reversed the decision, ruling that the center's request would not tell the public whether the Center for Medicare Services (CMS) is doing its job properly.

"We fail to see how the requested data will allow the public to evaluate the performance of any specific quality-promoting programs CMS has a statutory duty to undertake," Henderson wrote.

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