Physicians Seek Balance Between Transparency, Paperwork After the Sunshine Act

Physicians are trying to find a balance between transparency and what some consider cumbersome paperwork under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, according to a Kaiser Health News report.

The Sunshine Act — a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — took effect Aug. 1. Under the act, pharmaceutical, medical device, biological and medical supply manufacturers that make any "payment or other transfer of value" of $10 or more to physicians and teaching hospitals must report the transaction to HHS. Physicians have the right to review those reports and challenge anything they believe is false, inaccurate or misleading.

The law probably won't produce any immediate changes for physicians aside from fewer meetings with pharmaceutical representatives, Jason Mitchell, MD, the director of the Center for Health IT at the American Academy for Family Physicians, told Kaiser Health News. Physicians minimizing their working relationships with pharmaceutical and medical representatives because of the attention their meetings would receive under the Sunshine Act could prove problematic, according to Dr. Mitchell. Physicians will need to keep up-to-speed on drug and product information in other ways.

Pharmaceutical and medical representatives can use a number of iPad and iPhone Apps to simplify their reporting of these payments, according to the report. CMS has also designed Apps for both physicians and medical companies specifically for the purpose of making Sunshine Act compliance easier.

Manufacturers and GPOs will report payment data to CMS by March 31, 2014, and CMS will publish these interactions on a public, searchable website by the end of September 2014. Before the data is published, CMS will launch an online portal in January 2014.

More Articles on Payment Transparency:
Sunshine Act Reporting Takes Effect Aug. 1
CMS Releases Free Apps to Track Payments Reportable Under Sunshine Act
1 in 4 Massachusetts Physicians Accepted Gifts From Pharma, Device Industry 

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