Medscape Medical News

'Sunshine Act' Registration for Docs, Hospitals Now Open

Megan Brooks
June 06, 2014

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Physicians and teaching hospital representatives can now register in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Enterprise Portal, the gateway to the CMS Enterprise Identification Management System.

Registering will allow physicians to review information submitted about them by drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations (GPOs) regarding financial interactions.

These interactions could range from consulting fees to honoraria for presentations to lunches for the office staff.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, also known as Open Payments, is a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires all applicable manufacturers and GPOs to report to CMS information about payments or other transfers of value they have made to physicians or teaching hospitals.

Open Payments is a national disclosure program that "promotes transparency" by making public the financial relationships between the medical industry and healthcare providers, CMS explains on its Web site.

"This public website (to be available no later than September 30, 2014) will be organized and designed to increase access to and knowledge about these relationships and to provide information to enable consumers to make informed decisions," the agency says.

2–Step Process

Registration in the CMS Enterprise Portal, step 1 in a 2–step process, began June 1.

Step 2, registering in the CMS Open Payments system, will begin in early July.

Physicians and teaching hospitals are "encouraged to register with the Open Payments system so that they are able to review data submitted by these companies to ensure it is accurate and complete, and if not, dispute the information," CMS says.

"When a dispute occurs, the physician or teaching hospital will be able to work with applicable manufacturers and applicable GPOs to make any necessary corrections to the information before CMS releases those data to the public," according to the agency.

This dispute period is scheduled to last no longer than 45 days. Any data that are disputed, if not corrected by industry, will still be made public but will be marked as disputed, according to CMS.