Setbacks With The Physician Payments Sunshine Act Continue

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According to a recent SF Gate article, the Federal Government has been attempting to “reveal the financial entanglements between doctors and drug companies.” The effort is proving to be more difficult than initially anticipated. Four (4) years ago, the Government passed the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which “requires pharmaceutical companies, medical device makers, and medical purchasing companies to report any payments, including meals and honoraria that they’ve provided to doctors and teaching hospitals.”

Recently, there have been many setbacks. Last week, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services shut down their Open Payments website, which was slated to be the main public access point to the data. The site was shut down due to inconsistencies and errors in the data. The site was scheduled to go-live in September, but that date may be pushed back as a result of last week’s issues.

Doctors and other industry leaders have been pushing for 6-month delay before the information is shared with the public. They say “that the process for doctors to register and check information on the site is cumbersome and that the Government is not sharing enough information with the doctors.”

Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa says “it’s disappointing to have any delays, but providers need adequate time to review the information and correct as necessary before it’s made public.” Hopefully, once the issues and bugs are worked out, the Open Payments website will be a valuable resource for the public.

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