As of August 1, 2013, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act) goes into effect. The Sunshine Act, contained in Section 6002 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), is designed to highlight the financial relationship between doctors and the manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals. The act requires that light be shined on the payments being made to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, bringing these out into the “sunshine.”
Some of the items tracked include gifts worth more than $10, five-star dinners, trips, money paid to physicians for speaking engagements, etc. The medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturers will be responsible for reporting the figures to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). However, it’s important that physicians keep their own records to verify the accuracy of the reports.
What Has to be Reported and What Does Not Have to Be Reported.
All manufacturers of pharmaceuticals and medical devices will have to disclose how much money they pay physicians and hospitals in cash and gifts, as well as how much stock doctors and their families own in the particular manufacturer’s company.
As required by law, this information will be published by CMS starting in September 2014. There are several reporting exceptions, such as gifts less than $10, drug samples for patients and educational materials given to patients, according to a Huffington Post article.
Physicians Need to Track Their Records.
The burden of collecting and reporting data will be the responsibility of the manufacturers of medical devices and pharmaceuticals, but physicians are encouraged to keep their own records. They will have 45 days to review disclosures and seek corrections if they dispute what is being reported. According to Modern Healthcare, CMS will not mediate disagreements but will note if a figure is being disputed.
Physicians can register with CMS starting January 1, 2014, to receive a consolidated report on activities each June for the prior reporting years.
Helpful Resources for Physicians.
The Sunshine Act affects all physicians with a current medical license. The American Medical Association (AMA) has a “Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit” available on its website to help physicians navigate the Sunshine Act changes. The AMA is also working on tools to aid physicians in talking with their patients about the transactions included in the new Sunshine Act database. Click here to access the AMA’s Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit.
CMS is holding a national provider conference call on August 8, 2013. Doctors of medicine, osteopathy, chiropractic medicine, dentistry, dental surgery, optometry and podiatry are encouraged to participate and ask questions. CMS also recently introduced a free mobile app called “Open Payments Mobile for Physicians.” The app will help physicians and businesses track financial relationships.
Contact Health Law Attorneys Experienced in Representing Health Care Professionals.
The Health Law Firm routinely represents pharmacists, pharmacies, physicians, nurses and other health providers in investigations, regulatory matters, licensing issues, litigation, inspections and audits involving the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Health (DOH) and other law enforcement agencies. Its attorneys include those who are board certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law as well as licensed health professionals who are also attorneys.
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What are your concerns about the Sunshine Act? Are you ready for the law to go into effect? How have you prepared for the Sunshine Act? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Robeznieks, Andis. “Reform Update: Aug. 1 Brings Deadline to Report Physician Payments.” Modern Healthcare. (July 29, 2013). From: http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20130729/NEWS/307299967/reform-update-aug-1-brings-deadline-to-report-physician-payments
Aronfeld, Spenser. “Here Comes the Sunshine Act – And It’s All Right.” Huffington Post. (July 16, 2013). From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/spencer-aronfeld/here-comes-the-sunshine-act_b_3595394.html?view=print&comm_ref=false
Lasher Todd, Heather. “AMA Reminds Physicians: Sunshine Act Reporting Starts This Week.” American Medical Assocations. (July 30, 2013). From: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/news/news/2013/2013-07-30-sunshine-act-reporting-this-week.page
About the Authors: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
Lance O. Leider is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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