Keeping with its continued commitment to fully inform physicians about the implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act), the American Medical Association (AMA) reminded physicians of the deadline to complete a two-phase process necessary to review their data and dispute any errors with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS). The AMA has been actively informing physicians about the Sunshine Act and the upcoming publishing of physician interactions with pharmaceutical and medical device companies on September 30th, 2014.
Beginning June 1st, physicians can register in the CMS Enterprise Portal, a step many physicians may have already completed as the gateway enables access to a number of CMS programs. Step two of the access process — registration in CMS' Open Payments system — is set to begin in early July.
“The Sunshine Act will impact many physicians with a current medical license and it is important that they are properly registered to review and ensure the accuracy of the data reported by manufacturers and group purchasing organizations before the world sees it,” said AMA President Ardis Hoven, M.D. “To avert one of the problems that came to light as a result of the Medicare claims data release earlier this year, we strongly urge physicians to make sure their information in the national provider identifier (NPI) database is current.”
Implementation of the Sunshine Act has been a bumpy road thus far given that CMS has missed nearly every deadline laid out in the law and regulations to implement it. Although the pharmaceutical and medical device industries were supposed to be able to submit their reports by March 31st, the database has yet to be completed. These delays in implementation raise serious concerns about whether the database will function properly. For these reasons, the AMA is still advocating for physicians to have more time to register and review the data contained in the CMS database for accuracy prior to publication. The multi-step registration and the database review process are just two of the burdens physicians are facing right now as they also navigate challenges related to quality reporting, meeting meaningful use requirements and implementing new, innovative models of care.
“It's unfortunate that CMS has not given physicians more time to register and review the data to ensure accuracy prior to publication,” said Dr. Hoven.
In order to make the process easier for physicians, the AMA has created an online “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit” that provides a variety of resources for physicians to help them navigate the Sunshine Act changes, including a free webinar, a list of important dates, answers to frequently asked questions, information about how to challenge incorrect reports and ways to be more transparent with patients about their interactions with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. These tools are available at www.ama-assn.org/go/sunshine.