Sunshine Act Update – Database for Compliance

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer payments to physicians and teaching hospitals are on the verge of being publicly available under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which could change the dynamics of fraud enforcement, the management of conflicts of interest and the public perception of physicians and hospitals.

The CMS database with the payment information — including ownership and investment interests — will be open for business on Sept. 30, 2014. The unparalleled transparency will create an opportunity for hospitals to identify payments that were left off conflict-of-interest forms, resolve discrepancies and formulate responses to questions about the impact on medical decision making of physician arrangements with manufacturers.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act (Sec. 6002 of the Affordable Care Act) requires manufacturers of drugs, devices and biologics to report to CMS certain payments and other “transfers of value” (e.g., travel, grants) to physicians and teaching hospitals. Ownership and investment interests held by physicians or family members are reportable, as is interest income. As a result, manufacturers must report payments that physicians receive from a device company when, for example, they develop part of a device. CMS is required to make the payment information available in a public, searchable online database.

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