AMA Wire

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Special Feature

Sunshine Act to put financial interactions before the public eye

Sunshine Act

Patients soon will have access to physicians' financial ties with drug and medical device manufacturers. Such information as payments, ownership interests and other "transfers of value" will be publicly reported in an online database run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, manufacturers of drugs, devices, biological and medical supplies covered by federal health care programs are required to report financial interactions with physicians and teaching hospitals to CMS beginning Aug. 1. Ownership or investment interests physicians and their family members have in the manufacturers also must be disclosed. The data will be published no later than Sept. 30, 2014.

In addition to reporting the type of financial exchange and the dollar amount, manufacturers are required to report the reason for the interaction, including consulting, food, ownership or investment interest, direct compensation for speakers at education programs and research.

Physicians should prepare now to ensure the accuracy of the data their patients will see when the database launches next year. The best way to get ready is to start with AMA resources.

A newly archived webinar hosted by AMA President Jeremy A. Lazarus, MD, and an AMA legislative expert explains what physicians need to know about the law. By viewing this hourlong recording, physicians can learn which financial exchanges and ownership interests are subject to reporting and which information will be excluded.

The AMA was instrumental in securing a number of reporting exclusions, such as certified and accredited continuing medical education activities funded by manufacturers and product samples intended for patient use. Other improvements made based on the AMA's recommendations include allowing physicians to review their data and seek corrections before it is published, giving physicians an additional two years to pursue corrections and excluding medical residents from the rule.

The webinar also explains the steps physicians can take now to prepare for public reporting and the process through which they can challenge false, inaccurate or misleading reports before they come under public scrutiny.

Additional detailed information about the new law, including requirements, key dates and answers to frequently asked questions, is available on the AMA Sunshine Act Web page.