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CMA and AMA urge exemptions from Open Payments reporting

January 07, 2019
Area(s) of Interest: Public Payors Practice Management 


The American Medical Association, the California Medical Association (CMA) and more than 80 other health care organizations recently submitted a joint letter in response to a request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for feedback on the Open Payments Program reporting requirements.

Under the Open Payments program, 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.

The joint letter urges CMS to exempt journal reprints and medical textbooks from “Open Payments” reporting using a preexisting statutory exclusion for “educational materials that directly benefit patients.” The letter also urges the agency to play a more proactive role in the reporting process by working with stakeholders on a common set of definitions of what is reportable.

“We have long believed that the agency’s decision to include educational materials and CME programs as reportable transfers of value is contrary to both the statute and congressional intent,” states the letter. “[It] has harmed patient care by impeding ongoing efforts to improve the quality of care through timely medical education.”

The organizations that signed on to the letter agree that CMS’ decision to require reporting of medical textbooks and journal reprints makes it more difficult for busy physicians to stay abreast of the latest advances in medical care, therefore and ultimately compromising patient care. They also state the reporting guidance pertaining to CME continues to be misinterpreted with many manufacturers overreporting.

As previously reported by CMA, less than 6 percent of physicians who received payments actually looked at their records.

Physicians who are not already registered should be aware that there is a two-step process to register for the Open Payments program. The first step requires physicians to register at the CMS Enterprise Identity Management System portal, a step many physicians may have already completed as the gateway enables access to some other CMS programs. Step two is to register in CMS’ Open Payments system.

Physicians who have already registered, but who have not accessed their account in the past 60 days, will need to unlock their account by going to the CMS Enterprise Portal. It will prompt you to enter your user ID and correctly answer all challenge questions, then you will be prompted to enter a new password.

Users who registered last year, but who have been inactive for more than 180 days, will need to reactivate their account by contacting the Open Payments Help Desk at openpayments@cms.hhs.gov or (855) 326-8366.

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