Still in the dark about the Sunshine Act: CMS delays data collection for doc payments

May 4, 2012 by MassDevice staff

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid push back implementation of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act as the agency takes time to address more than 300 comments submitted on the proposed gift reporting rule.

HHS Sunshine Act

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pushed back the implementation date of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, delaying the deadline to begin collecting data on gifts or payments worth more than $10.

The 1st reports are still due March 31, 2013, but the agency announced that it will not ask for reports on payments made prior to January 1, 2013, as the Medicare watchdog has yet to issue a final rule on how companies should collect and report their payments.

"CMS intends to release the final rule later this year," according to the agency notice. "This timing will provide CMS with additional time to address operational and implementation issues in a thoughtful manner, and the ability to ensure the accuracy of the data that is collected."

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CMS issued a rule proposal on payment collection and reporting in December 2011, opening up the draft for public comment. The law would require med-tech makers as well as drug, biologicals, medical supplies manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to keep records of payments and other values transferred to doctors and teaching hospitals.

The rule would also require manufacturers and GPOs to disclose physician ownership or investment interests, including those held by immediate family members.

The agency plans to publish all records to a public website, where it will be downloadable, searchable and easily aggregated. In addition, CMS plans to submit annual reports to Congress and each state summarizing the data.

CMS received more than 300 public comments on the draft proposal in 60 days, and is taking time to review the suggestions before issuing a final rule on compliance, but the delayed rule-making may signal a later delay in initial reporting, according to the lawyers at FDALawBlog.net.

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