CMS issues final rule on physician payment ‘Sunshine Act’
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced in a press release its final rule on the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments, also known as the Sunshine Act, aimed to increase transparency among physicians, drug and device manufacturers and health care providers.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, the rule calls for manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies reimbursed by Medicare, Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program to disclose payments made to doctors and teaching hospitals to CMS. According to the release, these manufacturers and group purchasing organizations must also report physician ownership and investments in these enterprises. This data will be publicly available on a CMS website by Sept. 30, 2014, and entities required to report information under the rule will be able to review and correct reported data before it is released to the public. Collection of this information will begin Aug. 1 of this year, according to the release.
“You should know when your doctor has a financial relationship with the companies that manufacture or supply the medicines or medical devices you may need,” Peter Budetti, MD, CMS deputy administrator for Program Integrity, stated in the press release. “Disclosure of these relationships allows patients to have more informed discussions with their doctors.”
According to an American Optometric Association spokesperson, the AOA’s Ethics and Values Committee has written a white paper based on the proposed ruling and is in the process of comparing the final ruling with the committee’s original piece. The revised paper, once approved by legal counsel, will be disseminated in an official statement to the AOA membership.
American Medical Association President Jeremy Lazarus, MD, said the AMA is also reviewing the new rule.
“Physicians’ relationships with the pharmaceutical industry should be transparent and focused on benefits to patients,” Lazarus stated in an AMA press release. “Our feedback during this rulemaking process was aimed at ensuring the new registry will provide a meaningful picture of physician-industry interactions and give physicians an easy way to correct any inaccuracies. As the rule is implemented, we will work to make sure physicians have up-to-date information about the new reporting process.” – by Jeffrey Craven and Nancy Hemphill, ELS