August 14, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Practice Management
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced today that is has reopened the Open Payments website, where physicians can review and dispute their financial interactions as reported under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. Last week it took the system offline 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.
Last month, CMS had opened the system for physicians to review and, if necessary, dispute their data, and the six week dispute period was supposed to remain open until August 27, 2014. To account for system down time, CMS is extending the time for physicians and teaching hospitals to review their records to September 8, 2014. The public website will be available on September 30, 2014.
Physicians should be aware that there is a two-step registration process for the Open Payments program. The first step requires physicians to register at the CMS Enterprise Portal, a step many physicians may have already completed as the gateway enables access to a number of other CMS programs. Step two is to register in CMS’ Open Payments system.
Physicians and authorized representatives can submit questions to the CMS Help Desk at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.