Register now to gain access to Sunshine Act data
Under the “Physician Payments Sunshine Act,” data on payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals by medical device and pharmaceutical companies must be publicly available on a searchable federal database, starting in September 2014. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is preparing for the release of these data, which have been collected since 2013, under what it is calling the “Open Payments Program.”
Data cover “payments or other transfers of value,” which include the transfer of anything value at $10 or more/$100 or more aggregate annual. Certain educational materials and in-kind items for charity care are excluded. The information includes the name and address of the physician; the amount and date of the payment; the form of the payment, such as cash or stocks; and the nature of the payment, such as consulting fees, gifts, or entertainment expenses. In addition, the companies and group purchasing organizations must provide information about ownership or investments interest held by physician owners or investors and members of their immediate families.
All AAOS members are strongly encouraged to register under the Open Payments program on the CMS Enterprise Portal (http://go.cms.gov/openpayments). Registration opened June 1 and is a voluntary process, but only registered users will be able to dispute information reported by industry that they believe to be inaccurate or incomplete. Registration will be conducted in two phases for the first Open Payments reporting year:
- Phase 1 (began June 1) includes user registration through the CMS Enterprise Portal.
- Phase 2 (begins in July) includes physician and teaching hospital registration in the Open Payments system and allows them to review and dispute data submitted by applicable manufacturers and applicable group purchasing organizations prior to public posting of the data.
The review process is open for 45 days. During this period, if the manufacturer agrees with the physician regarding the dispute, CMS will publish the corrected information on the Open Payments website. However, if not corrected by industry, the challenged information will still be made public, but it will be marked as disputed.
Although physicians can register at any time after June 1, AAOS strongly encourages early registration so that inaccurate or incomplete data can be identified and issues resolved before the data are made public. For more information and links to CMS resources on the Open Payments program, see below.