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Huge chunk of data excluded from Open Payments website because of inaccuracies



August 20, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management 

According to several news sources, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has rejected about one-third of the "Open Payment" records submitted by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) because of "intermingled data." When the data goes public next month, those records will not be included. 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.


Physician Payments Sunshine Act is a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Drug and medical device manufacturers and GPOs 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. This data will be made public via the "Open Payments" website beginning on September 30.


The Open Payments system was taken offline a few weeks ago because of errors reported by physicians. Some of the physician website data was found to be “intermingled” between physicians with the same last names by manufacturers. After removing the offending records, CMS re-opened the website for physician review on August 15.


To account for system down time, CMS is extending the time for physicians and teaching hospitals to review, and if necessary dispute, their records to September 8, 2014. The public website will be available on September 30, 2014.


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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