"Sunshine Act" database open; however, there are errors
The public now has access to the first round of data reported by the pharmaceutical and medical-device industries regarding payments physicians and teaching hospitals may have received from them. The database, managed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and known as Open Payments, was established in accordance with the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (PPSA) as part of the Affordable Care Act. According to CMS, its purpose is to increase transparency and accountability in health care.
The database lists consulting fees, research grants, travel reimbursements, and other gifts provided to physicians and teaching hospitals. It contains 4.4 million payments valued at nearly $3.5 billion paid to 546,000 physicians and almost 1,360 teaching hospitals. Forty percent of the records do not carry personally identifiable information because they did not meet CMS’s integrity standards for consistency of information when matched across other databases.
The data available today were collected from August to December 2013 and were available for review and dispute for a total of 45 days ending September 11.
Beginning in June 2015, reports will be published annually and will include a full 12 months of payment data. Physicians still have until December 31 to dispute 2013 data, but disputes will not be flagged in the public database until the next publication cycle.
APA members are encouraged to visit the public Open Payments database and review any data that may have been reported about them. Those who have not yet registered on the physicians' Open Payments database should do so now. For more information, click here.
Source: APA Psychiatric News Alert
In a front-page story, USA Today reports that the Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to publish data on physician quality. However, advocates charge that information published by the Federal agency is too limited to be useful for patients. The American Medical Association last month said the website for the Physician Compare project was “riddled with problems.”
The New York Times (9/29, Ornstein, Jones, Sagara, Subscription Publication) carries a ProPublica report on today’s publication of financial links between physicians and drug and device manufacturers. The Federal government is scheduled to release the data in fulfillment of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, that “mandates disclosure of payments to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists and optometrists for things like promotional speaking, consulting, meals, educational items and research.” ProPublica has previously covered links between physicians and industry and published a limited data set of company payments.
NPR (9/29, Ornstein, Jones and Sagara) reports in its “Shots” blog that the initial release of data “will be incomplete, covering spending for only a few months at the end of 2013.”
Bloomberg BusinessWeek (9/29, Tozzi) reports that the publication of the data has been the target of lobbying efforts by both sides of the payments, including large pharmaceutical companies and physicians’ groups like the American Medical Association. The article concludes, “if the Sunshine Act disclosures work, patients, insurance companies, and the public will get a better sense of whether and when relationships with manufacturers influence doctors’ decisions.”
Source: APA Headlines
Physicians report errors in new database
The Wall Street Journal (10/4, Loftus, Walker, Subscription Publication) reported on mounting reports of errors in a Federal database intended to show payments from the pharmaceutical industry to physicians. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services collected information from the drug and device industries to be publicized in its Open Payments Database. However, practitioners have complained about inaccurate and misleading information in the database, which CMS says it will not correct until next year. The ACA mandated the creation of the database.