Washington Update

“Sunshine” Data Available for Review

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Physicians and other health care providers, including dentists, may now review data submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Open Payments program, previously known as the Sunshine Act.

This provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations of drugs, devices, biologics and medical supplies covered by Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to disclose payments made to physicians, dentists and teaching hospitals among other recipients. The purpose of the rule is to establish transparency to prevent conflicts of interest that may influence research, education or clinical decision-making.

As of last month, CMS invited recipients of such payments to register with the CMS Enterprise Portal to review data submitted on payments made to them by drug and device manufacturers. A user guide is available to walk site users through the process.

The rule establishes a 45-day review window to access the data and dispute entries. If disputes are not resolved, CMS will mark those entries as disputed in the resulting database, which will become available to the public by the end of September. Allied health associations have expressed concern that the process for resolving and reporting disputes may jeopardize the accuracy of the database and lead to serious consequences for the parties involved. 

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