In September 2014, CMS began an annual, public release of data on physicians' and teaching hospitals' financial relationships with manufacturers and certain other entities under a program known as Open Payments. The program was stipulated by a physician “sunshine law” passed as part of the health care reform law. The aim of Open Payments is to ensure greater transparency about health care providers’ financial interests.
Physicians and hospitals have no data-collection responsibility. However, providers will be able to review and, as needed, correct their information before its public release.
Data Review Timeline
- Sept. 30, 2014: 2013 data published on a public website by CMS. In subsequent years, information will be published on June 30.
- March 30 of each year: Reports for previous calendar year due (e.g., 2014 reports will be due March 30, 2015)
- May of each year: Physician/hospital review and correction period
Who Must Report
The Sunshine Act applies to two main non-physician entities:
- Manufacturers of medical devices, drugs, biologicals and medical supplies operating in the United States, including certain wholesalers/distributors and certain entities under common ownership (5 percent or more) with a manufacturer (collectively, “Manufacturers”);
- Group purchasing organizations.
The Sunshine Law applies to all of the following types of doctors, as long as they hold a current license to practice in the United States:
- Doctors of medicine;
- Doctors of osteopathy;
- Optometrists; and
Residents are excluded from the requirement (including residents in medicine, osteopathy, dentistry, podiatry, optometry and chiropractic).
Third-party entity recipients of a payment/transfer of value made “at the request of” or in the name of a physician or teaching hospital must be reported in the name of the physician and the recipient.
Doctors are subject to the law regardless of whether or not they are enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid or CHIP.