Physicians should prepare for Sunshine Act's advent

Physicians should prepare for Sunshine Act's advent

Starting Aug. 1, pharmaceutical and medical device companies must begin tracking and preparing to publicly report payments and other transfers of value made to physicians under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. The transactions will be published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) starting in September 2014.

“The Sunshine Act affects all physicians with a current medical license and the changes are starting now,” said American Medical Association (AMA) President Ardis Hoven, MD, in a news release issued July 30. The AMA advocated for and secured changes during the rulemaking process for the Sunshine Act, including exemptions for reporting pharmaceutical funding of certified and accredited continuing medical education. 

While physicians will have a minimum of 45 days to challenge information before it is public, and can dispute inaccurate reports and seek corrections during a two-year period, the association advised its members to review and correct all information before it is published.

“We strongly urge physicians to make sure all of their financial and conflict-of-interest disclosures, as well as their information in the National Provider Identifier database, are current and regularly updated," said Hoven in the news release. "We also urge physicians to ask industry representatives with whom they interact to provide an opportunity to review and, if necessary, correct all information they will report before it is submitted to the government."

Physicians can register with CMS starting Jan. 1 to receive a consolidated report on activities each June for the prior reporting year.

In addition, a smartphone app called “OPEN PAYMENTS Mobile for Physicians,” offered by CMS, can help track payments and other financial transfers that industry will report. The free app can be downloaded through the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

AMA offers a "Physician Sunshine Act Tool Kit," which includes access to a free webinar, answers to frequently asked questions, important dates to remember and information on how to challenge incorrect reports.