WASHINGTON – July 30, 2013 – As the sole physician organization whose reach and depth extends across the nation, the American Medical Association (AMA) has been actively informing physicians about the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), which will require industry to report on their interactions with physicians beginning on Thursday, August 1. As required by law, these interactions will be published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) starting in September 2014.
“The Sunshine Act affects all physicians with a current medical license and the changes are starting now,” said AMA President Ardis Hoven, M.D. “Physicians should know that pharmaceutical and medical device companies must begin tracking and reporting information on their interactions with physicians beginning August 1, and this information will soon be published online by CMS.”
The AMA has a “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit” available that provides a variety of resources to help physicians navigate the Sunshine Act changes, including a free webinar, answers to frequently asked questions, important dates to remember and information on how to challenge incorrect reports. These helpful tools are all available at www.ama-assn.org/go/sunshine. The free and informative webinar is available to all physicians. The AMA is currently developing tools to aid physicians in talking with their patients about the transactions included in the new Sunshine Act database and will continue to update the website with helpful resources.
The AMA advocated for and secured numerous changes during the rulemaking process for the Sunshine Act, including exemptions for reporting pharmaceutical funding of certified and accredited continuing medical education (CME). While physicians will have a minimum of 45 days to challenge information before it is public, and can dispute inaccurate reports and seek corrections during a two-year period, it is advisable to review and correct all information before it is published.
“We strongly urge physicians to make sure all of their financial and conflict of interest disclosures, as well as their information in the national provider identifier (NPI) database, are current and regularly updated. We also urge physicians to ask industry representatives with whom they interact to provide an opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct all information they will report before it is submitted to the government,” said Dr. Hoven.
Physicians can register with CMS starting January 1 to receive a consolidated report on activities each June for the prior reporting year. Another helpful tool for physicians is a smartphone app called “OPEN PAYMENTS Mobile for Physicians,” which can help track payments and other financial transfers that industry will report. It is available for free and can be downloaded through the Apple Store and Google Play Store.