Ryann Grochowski Jones is a data reporter at ProPublica. Previously, she was a data reporter for Investigative Newsource/KPBS in San Diego, Calif. She received her master’s degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism, where she was a data librarian for Investigative Reporters and Editors/National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting. Ryann started her career as a municipal beat reporter for her hometown newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
Medicare paid for more than 200 million office visits for established patients in 2012. Overall, health professionals classified only 4 percent as complex enough to command the most expensive rates. But 1,800 providers billed at the top level at least 90 percent of the time, ProPublica found.
Research has been seen as less objectionable than other forms of interactions with drug companies, but 10 percent of researchers have multiple ties among the nine companies ProPublica analyzed. That raises questions about doctors’ impartiality.
As transparency increases and blockbuster drugs lose patent protection, drug companies have dramatically scaled back payments to doctors for promotional talks. This fall, all drug and medical device companies will be required to report payments to doctors.