Affordable Care Act's “sunshine” rule increases transparency in health care

PSN Staff
02/04/2013 at 11:00AM

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Feb. 1 a final rule designed to increase public awareness of financial relationships between physicians and drug and device manufacturers. The "National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments" is one of several steps in the Affordable Care Act designed to create greater transparency in the health care market.

"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," says CMS Deputy Administrator for Program Integrity Peter Budetti, MD. "Disclosure of these relationships allows patients to have more informed discussions with their doctors."

The rule finalizes the provisions that require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to report to CMS payments or other transfers of value they make to physicians and teaching hospitals.

CMS will post that data to a public website.

The final rule also requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) to disclose to CMS physician ownership or investment interests.

This increased transparency is intended to help reduce the potential for conflicts of interest that physicians or teaching hospitals could face as a result of their relationships with manufacturers.

This new reporting will apply to applicable manufacturers and GPOs. These organizations, as well as the physicians and teaching hospitals, will have an opportunity to review and correct reported information prior to its publication.

To give applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs sufficient time to prepare, data collection will begin on August 1.

Applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs will report the data for August through December of 2013 to CMS by March 31, 2014, and CMS will release the data on a public website by September 30, 2014. CMS is developing an electronic system to facilitate the reporting process.