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CMS temporarily takes Sunshine Act system offline



August 08, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Payor Issues and Reimbursement Practice Management 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced yesterday that the verification system for financial interactions tracked under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act system has been taken offline temporarily because of physician complaints of inaccuracies.

Under the Sunshine Act, drug and medical device manufacturers are required to report their financial interactions with licensed physicians – including consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts. Any payments, ownership interests and other “transfers of value” will be reported to CMS for publication in an online database.

CMS had opened the system for physicians to review and, if necessary, dispute the data reported by drug and device manufacturers on July 14, 2014, and the six week dispute period was supposed to remain open until August 27, 2014. According to CMS, for each day the Open Payments system is offline, CMS will extend the review and dispute deadline and the subsequent 15-day corrections period deadline accordingly.  The California Medical Association will keep members up-to-date when the deadline dates are announced.

CMS said physicians can still register with the CMS Enterprise Portal (the first step in signing up to review your data), despite the shutdown. They will not, however, be able to register for the Open Payments system (step two) until the system is brought back online.

Physicians and authorized representatives can submit questions to the CMS Help Desk at openpayments@cms.hhs.gov. Live Help Desk support is also available by calling (855) 326-8366, Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Central time, excluding Federal holidays.

More information on the Sunshine Act is available in the American Medical Association's online “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit,” which provides a variety of resources to help physicians navigate the Sunshine Act changes, including a free webinar, a list of important dates, answers to frequently asked questions, information about how to challenge incorrect reports and ways to be more transparent with patients about the physician's interactions with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.

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