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Sunshine Act Forecast

Excerpted from the November 2014 issue of Mentor

We’ve now been through our first cycle of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Open Payments reporting program — better known as the Physician Payments Sunshine Act — and there were a few snafus. This is the federal program that’s designed to provide transparency in financial relationships between medical and dental manufacturers and physicians and dentists. These are called “transfers of value,” and might include speaking fees, gifts, meals, travel or funding for research.

First, the CMS took down its online payment verification system after discovering that a “small number” of doctors had been confused with others with the same name. Then, verification and resolution due dates had to be extended. The CMS also had to return a third of the records it received because of reporting errors. As a result, a number of disclosed payments to doctors from 2013/2014 will not be reported on the database until sometime next year.

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