AMA Wire

Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013

For Physicians

The Sunshine Act final rule: What you need to know

A public database to be launched next year will report payments and other "transfers of value" drug and device manufacturers make to physicians and teaching hospitals, as required by the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.

A new AMA Web page explains the details physicians need to know about the online database and the reporting process.

Under a final rule issued earlier this month by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), manufacturers of drugs, devices, biologicals and medical supplies covered by federally administered health care programs are required to report any payments and transfers of value they make to physicians and teaching hospitals. Data collection will begin Aug. 1.

In addition, any ownership or investment interests physicians or their family members have in the manufacturers must be disclosed to CMS. Most of this information will be posted in the new database by Sept. 30, 2014.

Visit the AMA's Sunshine Act Web page to learn more about the implementation timeline, identify what kinds of data will be reported, understand how to challenge inaccurate reports, and find answers to frequently asked questions.

Medicare pay cut set under federal budget sequester

Physicians will see a 2 percent reduction in Medicare payments beginning April 1 unless Congress can agree upon a plan to prevent the across-the-board federal budget cuts before the sequester goes into effect March 1.

The 2 percent Medicare cut is part of broader cuts required under the Budget Control Act of 2011, which will slash domestic and defense spending to eliminate a total of $1.2 trillion from the federal budget over the next decade. The sequestration cuts originally were scheduled to hit Jan. 1 but were delayed two months when the American Taxpayer Relief Act became law Jan. 3.

Call on your members of Congress to find a better solution to reduce the national deficit. Send them an email today through the AMA Physicians' Grassroots Network.

Learn more about the sequester's impact on Medicare and domestic health programs in a recent blog post by AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD.