The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reassuring physicians about Physician Payment Sunshine Act reporting, saying that reporting efforts involving connections between physicians and vendors will fall largely on the shoulders of the vendors, rather than on physicians. But that's not the only issue that worries docs. Once the Sunshine data becomes public, they are concerned that it may be incorrectly interpreted by consumers and the media, leading to unwarranted witch hunts. At the AMA's House of Delegates meeting in Chicago, pediatrician Lynda Young said "The media can really sensationalize this," worrying that when information goes public, "the media jumps on it."
The Sunshine Act (Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) is being rebranded by CMS as the "Open Payment Program," according to a June 20 article in Modern Healthcare. Quoting Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, director of the CMS data-sharing and partnership group, the agency wants to create a national transparency program for payments to physicians and teaching hospitals by drug and medical-device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations. According to Agrawal, pharmaceutical companies spent $15.7 billion in 2011 on face-to-face sales and promotional activities. But companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline have reported reductions in spending to attract doctors.
The law kicks in August 1, requiring drug and device companies to start tracking transfers of anything valued at more than $10. Physicians will be able to see what has been reported about them in the second quarter of 2014, and reports will become public on Septenver 30 of that year.
CarePrecise.com supplies accurate physician databases used by drug and device manufacturers in their Sunshine Act tracking programs.