August 29, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced yesterday that the Open Payments system, where physicians can review and dispute their financial interactions as reported under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, will be inaccessible to physicians on Saturday August 30 and Saturday September 5, 2014. CMS says the down time will allow the agency to make a series of scheduled maintenance upgrades at the CMS data center in the coming weeks. On Saturday, August 30 the updates are scheduled from 1 to 11 a.m. The September 5 scheduled update has not been assigned a duration.
To account for this system down time, CMS is extending the time for physicians and teaching hospitals to review, and if necessary dispute, their records to September 10, 2014. The public website will still be available on September 30, 2014.
The Sunshine Act is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that requires drug and medical device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) 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. This data will be made public via the Open Payments website beginning on September 30.
Physicians using the reporting system have found that it has been plagued by errors in the past few weeks. Last week it was reported that CMS had rejected about one-third of the Open Payment records submitted by manufacturers and GPOs because of "intermingled data." CMS says it will not publish the withheld data until June 2015, when it expects that manufacturers will have had time to correct the inaccuracies.