As key deadlines approach for the registration and database review process of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, the AMA is reminding physicians to begin this transparency process with the help of an online toolkit, the association said in a press release.
The AMA cited the September 30, 2014 date for the publication of physician relationships with pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and encouraged doctors to review their data and contest any errors with the CMS.
As of June 1, physicians can register at CMS’ Enterprise Portal, an online conduit to various CMS programs. The second step in the process involves registering in the CMS’ Open Payments system, which is scheduled to start at the beginning of July.
Facilitation of the Sunshine Act, which is aimed at disclosing information to patients about payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals by device and pharmaceutical companies, has been problematic to-date. Despite a deadline of March 31 for physicians to submit reports, the database remains incomplete, AMA said in the press release. As a result, the AMA has been seeking additional time for physicians to review and rebut the database information prior to its publication.
“It’s unfortunate that CMS has not given physicians more time to register and review the data to ensure accuracy prior to publication,” said AMA President Ardis Hoven, MD, in the press release.
However, the AMA strongly encourages physicians to take action on their own behalves by registering and reviewing the relevant data.
“The Sunshine Act will impact many physicians with a current medical license and it is important that they are properly registered to review and ensure the accuracy of the data reported by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations before the world sees it,” Hoven said in the release. “To avert one of the problems that came to light as a result of the Medicare claims data release earlier this year, we strongly urge physicians to make sure their information in the national provider identifier (NPI) database is current.”
In order to further assist the registration and review process for its members, the AMA has created a “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit.” This online resource offers various tools to optimize the use of the Sunshine Act database, and includes a free webinar, a list of key dates, a “frequently asked questions” section, instructions on how to dispute inaccurate reports and tips on how to improve transparency with patients. The toolkit can be accessed at www.ama-assn.org/go/sunshine.