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Sunshine law goes into effect August 1



July 25, 2013

Beginning next week, manufacturers of drugs, medical devices and biologics that participate in federal health care programs must begin tracking and reporting certain payments and items of value – including consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts – given to physicians and teaching hospitals.

The new law, known as the Sunshine Act, also requires manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to report certain ownership interests held by physicians and their close family members.

The intention of the law is to increase transparency and reduce the potential for conflicts of interest that can influence research, education and clinical decision making.

The reports will be submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on an annual basis. The majority of the information contained in the reports will be made available on a public, searchable website beginning in September 2014. Physicians will, however, have the right to review their reports and to challenge any information that is false, inaccurate or misleading. By statute, physicians are provided, at a minimum, 45 days to review the transparency reports and make corrections before they are made public.

The Sunshine Act covers all physicians who have an active state license, even if they do not participate in federal health care programs, but excludes residents and medical students.

Payments of less than $10 do not need to be reported unless the aggregate amount exceeds $100 annually. The $10 threshold will increase every year, based on the Consumer Price Index.

For more information

Physicians are encouraged to register for the CMS Open Payments listserv to receive periodic email updates about the program. To register, visit http://go.cms.gov/openpayments. Questions about the program can be sent to openpayments@cms.hhs.gov.

Some information in this article was republished with permission from the American Medical Association. For more information, visit www.ama-assn.org/go/sunshine.

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